John Wall dishes out a career-high 20 assists as the Wizards hang on to win despite a late comeback from the Bulls, 112-107. Bradley Beal was the Wizards’ high scorer with 24 points including some key baskets down the stretch while Jason Smith scored 17 points to go along with seven rebounds as he started in place of an ill Markieff Morris tonight.
The House of Guards got things going early on for the Wizards. Bradley Beal connected on four of his first six shots while John Wall dished out six assists in the first quarter as the Wizards led, 29-23 after one.
Kelly Oubre, who hasn’t seen the court in a while, got some playing time tonight due to Morris’ absence and took advantage of it. Oubre’s defensive presence was felt right when he checked in as he gathered a steal ending in an easy bucket for Otto Porter on the other end.
Jason Smith caught fire in the second quarter connecting on 3-4 three-pointers as the Wizards ended the quarter on a 10-0 run and led 59-40 at halftime.
The great defense that we saw in the first half was nowhere to be found in the second half. Paul Zipser hit two quick buckets for the Bulls as the lead was trimmed to 15. Chicago kept hanging around in this one. Robin Lopez scored a season-high 25 points tonight with many coming in the third quarter as the Bulls chipped away at the Wizards lead. Chicago outscored the Wizards 32-25 in the third quarter and all of a sudden, what looked like a blowout turned into a close game.
The Bulls kept the momentum rolling into the fourth quarter with an 8-0 run early on. Fortunately for the Wizards, Ian Mahinmi came up big with 16 points tonight including several baskets around the rim in crunch time.
Chicago continued to fight whenever it looked like the Wizards might pull away. Late three-pointers from Denzel Valentine and Jimmy Butler got the Bulls as close as 1, 108-107 with just under a minute to play. The Wizards would miss the shot the next time down the floor but Otto Porter got fouled and would calmly knock down two free-throws to give the Wizards a 110-107 lead. Jimmy Butler heaved up a tough shot with time winding down and missed as Porter grabbed the rebound.
Wizards hang on 112-107.
Career-high 20 assists for John Wall
Wall has had two games this season where he dished out 19 assists but tonight, eclipsed that with a career-high 20. Wall’s shot was not falling early and rather than chucking up shots, he continued to dish out dimes evidenced as he had eight in the first quarter and 12 by halftime. Wall’s 20th and most important assist came on a pick and roll with Marcin Gortat ending in a Gortat layup as the Wizards stretched the lead out to three.
Jason Smith turns in his best game of the season
Markieff Morris was a late scratch due to illness and Jason Smith got the start as a result. And boy, did he seize the opportunity. Smith ended the night with 17 points and seven rebounds including knocking down three three-pointers. Smith was also a presence on the defensive end as he recorded two blocks. Credit to Smith; he was in and out of the rotation for weeks but always stayed ready and tonight, he got his chance and shined.
The bench had a great game
The reserves combined for 35 points tonight led by Ian Mahinmi with 16 on 8-11 shooting. Bogdanovic was his typical self with 12 points including two three-pointers while Brandon Jennings only scored three points but dished out eight assists. The Wizards will need to get performances like this from the reserves more often especially with big games looming.