Game Report 32: Wizards 97 Bobcats 83
THE GAME TURNED WHEN… Leading 47-45 with 9:30 left in the third quarter, the Wizards went on a 17-0 run in third quarter. Leading the way during the run, which included 8 straight made shots, was Trevor Booker, who scored 8 of his 12 points during the surge. The run included THIS NICE ALLEY-OOP DUNK from Booker to John Wall and then a desperation 33-foot 3-pointer by John Wall as the shot clock expired.
THE GAME WAS OVER WHEN… Martell Webster worked his way to a few feet from the baseline in front of the bench and took a pass from John Wall. With a nice open look at the basket, Webster made his second 3-pointer of the night to put Washington up 93-81 with 1:20 left in the game.
THE GOOD… The Wizards finally stopped those third quarter blues, going on a 17-0 run to blow the game open. They faded a bit at the end of the quarter, but on the whole it was a huge upgrade from recent games.
The Wizards are 16-1 when they shoot at least 46% from the field. They shot 47% tonight.
The Wizards held the Bobcats to 43% shooting and played solid defense most of the night. There were some good rotations, smart work on the pick and roll and Gortat nicely defended the paint.
The Wizards won the rebounding battle tonight 46-38 and held the Bobcats to only three offensive rebounds. Gortat led everyone with 13 caroms, but Trevor Booker grabbed 8 and off the bench Nene Hilario and Jan Vesely had six apiece.
The Wizards took good care of the ball tonight, committing only seven turnovers. John Wall committed no turnovers and the entire starting five accounted for only one turnover. That’s remarkable.
THE BAD… That shooting in the first half was pretty terrible.
THE UGLY… 3-point shooting of 5-17 [29.4%] wasn’t helping.
THE STAR… He’s been struggling, but not tonight. Marcin Gortat tallied a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds. He shot 7-13 from the floor and added three blocks. Defensively, Gortat dominated Al Jefferson, holding him to 6 points on 9 shots. Truly a complete performance from Gortat tonight.
THE STUDS… Bradley Beal played 31 minutes tonight, which is more than the team would like, but his scoring in the fourth quarter was critical. Beal knocked down a late 3-pointer and made several beautiful jumpers to seal the win. Beal had 9 of his team-high 21 points in the fourth quarter.
Very solid game from Trevor Booker, who contributed 12 points [5-8 shooting] and 8 rebounds. He badly outplayed Bobcats PF Josh McRoberts. Booker continues to make us think he might — might — be a real starting power forward in the NBA.
THE DUDS… Trevor Ariza missed 4 of 6 shots, with only 4 points and 3 rebounds tonight.
THE BENCHWARMERS… Chris Singleton, Kevin Seraphin and Eric Maynor continued to sit. Vesely, Otto Porter and Garrett Temple are getting those minutes instead.
THE QUOTE… “I thought Book in that third quarter really got us some solid play on both ends of the floor… Bradley got it going in the fourth quarter. I told Marcin that’s as good as you can play out there… Overall it was just a really good effort. Bench play. Jan, I thought, had some good play in there… John had zero turnovers.” — Coach Randy Wittman
AND WHAT IT ALL MEANS… Washington improves to 15-7, 8-9 on the road.The Wizards have more road wins this season than all of last season. Let that one sink in for a moment. It took the Wizards 32 games to win more road games than they won in 82 games last season. With New Orleans, Indiana, Houston and Miami coming up soon it was important for the Wizards to get this win and beat a division opponent and possible playoff team [Bobcats are currently in the 7th seed] in their own building. Charlotte isn’t a great team or even a good team, but winning on the road so convincingly, with such good defense and taking such good care of the basketball, is a good sign for the Wizards. They’ve been an inconsistent team and will probably continue to be that way, but this game shows what the Wiz are capable of.