Wizards pull away late to beat Hawks 114-98

The Wizards started 2019 off on the right foot with a 114-98 win over a frisky Atlanta Hawks squad on Wednesday night.

Five Wizards players scored in double-figures led by Bradley Beal with 24 points and Jeff Green with 22. Thomas Bryant continued his outstanding play with 16 points and a career-high 15 rebounds and Tomas Satoransky was also terrific posting a near triple-double with 14 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists.

Washington controlled the first-half but the scoreboard showed otherwise. The Wizards opened the game shooting 57 percent in the first quarter but had trouble slowing down Atlanta as they only led by six, 35-29 after one quarter.

Alex Len, the University of Maryland product, had an out of body performance this evening (24 points) playing just a few miles away from his alma mater. He came off the bench and had his way against the Wizards’ undersized bench and even hit a three to give Atlanta a spark.

Len and John Collins combined for 28 first-half points to keep it from being an early rout. Washington took a comfortable but not too cozy, 11 point lead into halftime.

Like we’ve seen in too many games this season, the Wizards had the Hawks at bay, but their offense went ice-cold for an extended stretch in the third quarter. With Washington leading 83-73, Atlanta cut into the lead with an 8-0 run and trimmed the deficit to four heading into the fourth quarter.

With the game tied at 94 and another #sowizards loss looming, Washington flipped the switch. The Wizards clamped down and forced Atlanta into one too many turnovers which created easy transition opportunities. Washington used the 17-2 run to pull away for a comfortable 114-98 victory.

Takeaways

Washington makes all of the crucial plays in the fourth quarter

Alex Len put back a missed floater by Trae Young to tie the game at 94 with 6:44 left in the game and it looked like the Wizards were in store for another #SoWizards ending.

But that’s when things took a drastic change in Washington’s favor. Bradley Beal, who was held to just 13 points prior to the fourth quarter, snaked his way into the lane for a tough layup. Next time down the floor, Satoransky found a trailing Beal for three quickly putting the Wizards up 99-94. Next time down, Bradley Beal drove baseline, kicked the ball to Satoransky who found Green in the corner for three to go on an 8-0 run in just 91 seconds.

That sparked an extended 17-2 run in which Washington would take control of the game and never look back.

Thomas Bryant continues to roll

Bryant continues to improve every single night.

No, it wasn’t a historic performance like Bryant had a few weeks ago against the Suns where he went 14-of-14 from the field — but it was close. The second-year big man continued to impress this time to the tune of 16 points and a career-high 15 rebounds including going a perfect 5-of-5 in the first half and almost logging a double-double by halftime with 16 points and 9 rebounds.

At first, Bryant was the beneficiary of the Wizards guards being able to penetrate the paint as that created easy opportunities for him close in. But then, all of his intangibles, which have earned him this extra playing time, were on display. First, it was doing the dirty work by setting hard screens, rolling hard to the basket, and crashing the offensive glass followed by him sprinting the floor for easy transition opportunities.

Bryant’s production slowed down significantly in the second half but that still didn’t stop him from notching his third double-double of the season.


Up Next: No time for an extended celebration as the Wizards have a brutal six-game stretch leading up to their trip to London later this month. It stars on in Miami on Friday night at 8 pm Eastern Time when they face the Heat, who have won seven of their last nine games.

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Wizards overcome Kemba’s 47 points in 130-126 win over Hornets

Just when you think you have this team all figured out, the Wizards turns in one of their best performances of the season with a 130-126 victory over the Charlotte Hornets Saturday evening. Seven Wizards players scored in double-figures led by Trevor Ariza with 24 points and a near triple-double with nine assists and seven rebounds.

This game had a somber feel from the start. After the news broke that John Wall would miss the remainder of the season to undergo surgery on his heel, no one knew what to expect from the Wizards tonight.

The Wizards looked stuck in the mud early and fell in a quick 15-7 hole. Things changed when Sam Dekker and Troy Brown Jr. checked in for Washington. The duo provided energy off the bench that the team desperately needed as they were able to claw back in this one and trailed by just two, 29-27 after one quarter.

Washington kicked it into gear in the second quarter as they were able to get a lot of quality shots in the paint. The Wizards didn’t get too many transition opportunities but were able to exploit mismatches for easy buckets around the rim. Washington scored 40 points on a blistering 72 percent from the field in the second quarter to take a six-point lead into halftime.

Kemba Walker, who was outstanding in the first half (17 points) cranked things up a notch in the second half. He single-handedly carried the scoring load for Charlotte in the third quarter to make it a one-possession game heading into the fourth quarter.

There were multiple instances where it looked like Washington might pull away in this one. An 8-0 run highlighted by three-pointers from Tomas Satoransky and Trevor Ariza put the Wizards up 111-105 early midway through the quarter. But Walker wouldn’t let the Hornets go down without a fight. He scored 10 straight points for Charlotte but they still trailed 125-119 with 23 seconds left — and that’s when things got chaotic.

Charlotte got a quick layup after the Wizards were unable to inbound the ball successfully. Seconds later, Satoransky was fouled but missed both free throws. Walker took the rebound and raced the other way for a layup to cut the lead to two. After Bradley Beal made a pair of free throws from Beal, Walker countered with a three to trim the lead down to one, but Jeff Green’slong pass to Trevor Ariza for a layup and foul sealed the deal as Washington escaped with the 130-126 victory.

Takeaways

Everybody Eats

In John Wall’s first game out since the announcement that he would miss the remainder of the season to surgically repair his heel, the next logical question was, ‘who would step up?’ Tonight, everyone did.

Only eight Wizards players saw playing time and seven of the eight cracked double-figures in scoring. On top of that, the ball was zipping side to side, guys were cutting through the lane, and there were very few stagnant possessions for a Wizards team that combined for 35 assists on 48 made baskets.

Now, ‘Everyone Eats’ isn’t just about ball movement and assists — it includes making the hustle plays too. Thomas Bryant was a menace on the offensive glass and Washington won the 50/50 balls like this one that led to extra scoring opportunities.

This game was a very pleasant surprise, however, we’ll have to wait and see if they can sustain this once the team settles into a new normal.

There’s a new big 3 in town (for a half)

Please raise your hand if you thought the trio of Troy Brown Jr., Sam Dekker, and Chasson Randle would be key contributors in this one.

The trio was outstanding in the first half. As mentioned, the Wizards were very sluggish to start this one and it was Dekker and Brown’s energy off the Washington bench that injected a jolt in this team. Dekker was sprinting the floor and moving well without the ball, resulting in some very easy buckets all in the painted area.

After receiving a DNP-CD just the night before, Brown Jr. got playing time in the first quarter and made the most of it. Like Dekker, it was the hustle and energy plays that provided a spark for this team, and knocking down a 3-pointer helped as well.

Chasson Randle knocked down a nice step back three-pointer in the first half to give Washington the lead and was the recipient of some nice tic-tac-toe passing for this transition basket.

The trio combined for a near-perfect 11-of-12 from the field and scored 29 of the Wizards 67 first-half points.

Brooks goes with an 8-man rotation

After getting heavily criticized for playing Ron Baker and Ian Mahinmi extended minutes, neither of those guys saw the floor tonight as Brooks opted to go with a short bench where only eight guys saw playing time. Brown Jr. received all of Baker’s minutes tonight (17) and Thomas Bryant played 35 minutes, the most he’s played in a non-overtime game this season.

Bulls at Wizards Final Score: Washington’s offense goes ice-cold in 101-92 loos to Chicago

Washington’s offense goes ice cold as they fall to Chicago, 101-92 in their latest embarrassing loss of the season. Bradley Beal scored a game-high 34 points but didn’t get much help elsewhere as the next highest scorer for the Wizards was Thomas Bryant with 12 points.

After a hard to watch, slog it out the first quarter, the Wizards somehow held the lead, 22-20. But that’s when things went south. Washington, playing without the services of John Wall, Markieff Morris, and Otto Porter tonight were forced to go deep into their bench. As a result, Scott Brooks trotted out Chasson Randle, Ron Baker, Tomas Satoransky, Sam Dekker, and Ian Mahinmi to start the second period. And to no one’s surprise, the offense came to a screeching halt.

After a Dekker layup to put Washington up 24-20, the Wizards would be held without a point over the next 5:30 of the quarter. Washington’s offense finally woke up as they ended the quarter on a 13-4 run somehow taking a 42-40 lead into halftime.

In the first half, it was the offense that disappeared, in the second half, it was the defense. The Bulls, who have the NBA’s worst offense only mustered up 40 points in the first half yet, somehow scored 34 in the third quarter to take control of the game.

The Wizards had a few last-ditch efforts but Chicago had an answer every time to keep Washington at bay. Washington falls 101-92 to a taking Bulls squad in what looks like their worst loss of the season to date.

Scott Brooks is in over his head

Yes, the Wizards were shorthanded tonight but some of Brooks’ rotations were egregious. To start the second quarter, when the Wizards managed just two points over the first six minutes, he had Randle-Baker-Satoransky-Dekker-Mahinmi on the floor. The Wizards struggled to score and frankly, do much of anything with that lineup on the floor but luckily their opponent is equally as bad so the game wasn’t lost there.

Meanwhile, Washington’s first-round pick in Troy Brown Jr. still couldn’t get any minutes even though the Wizards were shorthanded and trotted out arguably the worst five-man lineup we’ve seen this season.

What’s next?

With the loss, Washington falls to 13-23 and hasn’t looked anything close to a team that might turn things around. To make matters worse, the schedule is about to get a whole lot tougher. With one game left in 2018 against Charlotte, the Wizards kick off the New Year with the following schedule – ATL, @MIA, @OKC, @PHI, PHI, MIL, TOR. Aside from the Atlanta game, the Wizards will be underdogs in every one of those games making a free fall to a 14-30 record very possible.

Will that be enough for the front office to finally make a change or would they still feel that a playoff push is in this team? We all know the answer but do the people calling the shots know it?

Wizards run out of gas, fall to Pacers 105-89

Seven Pacers players score in double-figures led by Myles Turner with 18 points as Indiana downed a tired Washington squad, 105-89 on Sunday.

Only four Wizards players cracked double-figures in the game, led by Markieff Morris with 16 off the bench, but it wouldn’t be nearly enough as this one had ‘schedule loss’ written all over it after their thrilling triple overtime win over the Suns on Saturday evening.

The Wizards played about as well as one would hope to start this game. Even though the Wizards turned the ball over six times in the opening period and shot just 8-for-18 from the field, they found themselves down just two points one quarter.

After a John Wall turnover, it looked like the Pacers might open the floodgates up in this one as the ball found it’s way to Bojan Bogdanovic in the corner for a three-pointer giving Indiana a 44-32 lead. But Washington had an answer. Back-to-back threes from Morris and Jeff Green trimmed the Pacers lead to six and the Wizards were able to get as close as three after Thomas Bryant converted an and-one opportunity.

Indiana would counter with a 7-0 run of their own to take a 53-43 lead into halftime.

You usually don’t see fatigue in teams on the second half of a back-to-back until the second half — and that was the case for Washington. After hanging around, the Pacers ripped off a 16-1 extended run to open the game up 76-57 in the third quarter.

The deficit would be too much to overcome as Scott Brooks emptied the bench for the entire fourth quarter to close this one out as Washington was held to a season-low 89 points in the loss.

Takeaways

Wizards fall apart in the third quarter

The Wizards did a good job hanging around in this one during the first half, which was really all you could ask for from a team playing the second half of a back-to-back in less than 24 hours. Once the adrenaline wore off and the dead legs kicked in, Washington’s chance of sneaking away with a victory went out the window.

Washington was only able to muster 18 points in the third quarter as they were outscored 31-18 in the period.

However, the highlight of the period came on a basket that didn’t count. Bradley Beal stole the ball from a Pacers player, passed it off to Trevor Ariza who found a streaking Green for a monstrous dunk over Victor Oladipo.

This basket was waived off due to an offensive foul, but that doesn’t take away from how spectacular this dunk was.

Turnovers haunt the Wizards

The Wizards were in the giving spirit as they coughed the ball up 22 times, equaling the number they gave up the night before. John Wall was the main culprit with seven turnovers on the evening, including six in the first half.

No turnover is good, however, the ones the Wizards committed tonight would rank lowest on the totem pole. Too many times, guys would try to thread the needle after driving into a crowded lane or they’d turn it over attempting to save a loose ball heading out of bounds only to lead to transition opportunities for the Pacers.

The first half would have been a whole lot closer however the Wizards committed 13 turnovers leading to 20 Indiana points. Nine second-half turnovers added insult to injury as you aren’t going to win many games when committing 22 turnovers.

Washington gets nothing from their backcourt

Bradley Beal played over 50 minutes last night and you could tell. He looked gassed from the get-go and as a result, was only able to muster up seven points on 2-for-11 shooting in just 23 minutes of action.

John Wall on the other hand, was playing like a guy on the second half of a back-to-back, except he didn’t play last night due to flu-like symptoms that seemed to still be affecting his play. His numbers were equally as bad as he also only scored seven points and turned the ball over seven times.

The Wizards aren’t going to be competitive in games when these guys only combine for 14 points.

Thomas Bryant is making the most of his opportunity

It’s not often that second round picks get an opportunity to play meaningful minutes. And after the Wizards signed Dwight Howard in free agency this past summer, it looked like Thomas Bryant, the 42nd overall pick in the 2017 draft was going to learn that lesson the hard way.

The Wizards acquired the 21-year-old prospect off waivers this summer after the Los Angeles Lakers decided that he wasn’t going to be part of their future plans. Bryant, who bounced back and forth from their G-League affiliate, the South Bay Lakers, posted very good numbers earning him All NBA G-League honors but he never saw any meaningful playing time with the varsity squad.

When the Wizards acquired Bryant this summer, the Wizards fanbase didn’t think, well, much of anything as Bryant was an unknown. This move became an even bigger question mark after the Wizards inked Howard as it was assumed he would be the starter and Ian Mahinmi would be the backup as he’d already received a vote of confidence from the front office. Not to mention, the Wizards don’t have the best track record when it comes to developing young prospects.

But when news came out in November that Dwight Howard would miss significant time due to injury and the Ian Mahinmi starting at center experiment was going about as one would have expected, the second year player got his opportunity to show that he belongs in the league — and boy as he seized the opportunity.

When watching Bryant play, it’s the intangibles, not the stats that immediately jump out at you. Bryant sprints the floor, moves his feet well defensively, and has a relentless motor.

It isn’t sexy nor does it fill up the stat sheet, but you’ll never have to ask Bryant to ramp up his energy on a given night — something that cant be said for most guys on this roster.

As Jake Whitacre pointed out, he’s done a nice job doing the dirty work that his predecessor, Marcin Gortat, did before him. He’s in the same ballpark as Gortat when it comes to screen assists, averaging 7.2 per 36 minutes and has shown that he’s more than capable of producing as the roll man in the pick-and-roll game.

Since being inserted into the starting lineup, Bryant has been averaging 13.8 points and 9.6 rebounds per 36 minutes — the only thing is, he’s averaging just 18.1 minutes of playing time per game. More often than not, Bryant’s time is limited to starting the game and starting the second half. On occasion, Brooks will insert Bryant to close out the first half but as of late, Brooks prefers to play small with Jeff Green and Markieff Morris as the frontline without a true center in the game.

Now, this isn’t to say that Bryant is the long-term solution at center for the Wizards. However, with Dwight Howard looking like he’s going to miss the most of the season and Ian Mahinmi being, well, Ian Mahinmi, why not give Bryant more and more minutes? Night after night, Scott Brooks gives the media an audio clip which some way or another, he begs for more energy from his guys saying that it’ll get rewarded with playing time. Meanwhile, it’s the guy in his starting lineup that he never has to plea to crank up the intensity who still hasn’t seen his minutes significantly increase yet.

Opportunity doesn’t come around often for most second-round picks. But due to injury, inefficiency, and a little bit of luck, Thomas Bryant got his and has shown that he should be in this team’s long-term plan regardless if it’s in a starting role or a rotation player coming off of the bench.

Wizards vs. Lakers Final Score: Washington blows out Los Angeles 128-110 behind a monster 40-point game from John Wall

Things usually don’t end well when LeBron James steps foot in Capital One Arena. But Washington limited James to just 13 points and flipped the script as they ran the Lakers off the court, 128-110 on Sunday evening.

John Wall led the way for Washington with a season-high 40 points for a shorthanded Wizards team playing without Otto Porter Jr. for the third straight game and the newest member of the Wizards, Trevor Ariza, who had to sit this one out while this weekend’s trade waits to be approved.

Bradley Beal scored 25 points, the eighth straight time he’s eclipsed the 20-point mark and Jeff Green and Sam Dekker added 20 a piece for a Wizards squad that teased us for a night, showing us what this team could look like when it is clicking on all cylinders.

Washington stormed out in this one on a 24-8 run over the first five minutes of the game forcing Luke Walton to burn two early timeouts. The Wizards were on fire as they connected on their first five field goals and 12 of their first 17. But after nine brilliant minutes of basketball, the Wizards were a bit too loosey-goosey to close the quarter as the Lakers used a 13-5 run to cut the Wizards lead to 10, 33-23 after one quarter.

Things really opened up for Washington in the second quarter as they were able to push the pace. The Wizards used to pride themselves on getting out in transition but that hasn’t been the case this season. Tonight, the Wizards looked like their old selves as they relentlessly pushed the ball, especially on live ball Laker turnovers which allowed them to take control of the game midway through the second quarter.

With just seconds remaining in the first half, Wall hit an arcing jumper over Tyson Chandler to give the Wizards a 71-51 lead going into halftime.

Washington’s lead ballooned to 27 points at one point in the second half and the Wizards barely had to break a sweat as the Lakers never came within striking distance. Capital One Arena was filled with many purple and gold uniforms hoping to see a big game from James but they were silenced as Wall that stole the show.

Takeaways

2016-2017 John Wall shows up tonight

John Wall turned in by far his best performance of the season with 40 points, 14 assists, and 6 rebounds, with most his damage coming in the first half. Wall came out like a man on a mission early on as he pushed the ball in transition and fearlessly attacked the rim, very reminiscent of the 2016-2017 version of John Wall who made an All-NBA team.

The biggest difference from Wall tonight came on the defensive end and that set the tone for the rest of the team. Wall was much more energetic both on the perimeter and when LeBron tried backing him down in the post? He didn’t back down from the challenge.

Wall snagged three steals and had two emphatic blocks making everyone wonder, where is this defensive effort on a nightly basis?

Offensively, Wall was equally as impressive too. Tonight was one of those nights where guys had to keep their heads on a swivel because if you were open, John Wall was finding you.

Here, he threw a between the legs pass in transition for Sam Dekker who did the rest:

And here, he easily penetrated the paint to find Thomas Bryant for an easy dunk:

Take a bow, John.

An outstanding first half sets the tone for the night

On the heels of a trade, shipping Kelly Oubre Jr. and Austin Rivers out to Phoenix just one day ago, it was unclear how the Wizards would come out to start this game. However, all of those questions would be put to rest early on in arguably the Wizards best half of the season.

Washington stormed out of the gate for a double-digit lead just minutes into the ballgame. The Wizards connected on their first five field goals and 12-of-17 overall and if they would have been able to knock down some of their open three-pointers, the first half could have been even more lopsided.

Washington came out with an energy and sense of urgency that we’ve seldom seen this season. Guys were active defensively evidenced as they logged eight steals in the first half and turned 14 Lakers turnovers into 17 first-half points.

The Wizards dropped 71 points and were up 20 at halftime which begs the question, why can’t Washington bring this kind of energy in, heck, 75 percent of their games?

Sam Dekker turns in his best performance in a Wizards uniform

He’s only played in four games for Washington, but tonight, Dekker showed that he has the potential to be a rotation player for this team. Dekker, who saw more minutes due to the absence of Porter, Ariza, and Kelly Oubre Jr., but also got more playing time as Markieff Morris caught an elbow in the first half to the head and missed the remainder of the game.

Dekker scored 20 points on an efficient 10-15 shooting to go along with five rebounds and four assists. Most thought the trade for Dekker was just a cash-saving move and that he’d rarely see the floor. This game might have folks thinking a little bit differently.

Celtics at Wizards Final Score: Irving scores 38 in overtime thriller, drops Washington 130-125

Sometimes you just have to tip your cap.

Kyrie Irving scored a game-high 38 points with none bigger than a deep three-pointer in overtime with just seconds remaining to put the Celtics up for good as Boston drops Washington, 130-125.

In what turned out to be a vintage John Wall game, Wall flirted with a triple-double as he dropped 34 points to go along with 13 assists and 6 rebounds. Kelly Oubre continued his hot December with 20 points off the bench while Bradley Beal and Jeff Green added 22 a piece but it wouldn’t be enough to overcome Boston’s late-game execution down the stretch.

After getting outscored 38-22 in the third quarter and trailing 84-77, it looked like Washington was toast. But that’s when John Wall and the Wizards woke up. Washington opened the fourth quarter on an 8-0 run to regain the lead 85-84 in the blink of an eye. Wall re-entered the game and asserted himself right away with a lob to Thomas Bryant for the dunk bringing a buzz to Capital One Arena.

And that’s when the point guard duel began. John Wall and Kyrie Irving have had many epic battles in the past and the only difference this time was that Irving was wearing a Celtics jersey. Whenever Irving and the Celtics scored, Wall answered with a bucket of his own. Wall was relentless in attacking the rim in the fourth quarter as he got to the hole with ease.

With just 13 seconds remaining and the Wizards looking dead in the water, Bradley Beal went to the free-throw line. He made the first free-throw to cut the lead to two, 113-111. He missed his second free-throw but miraculously, it bounced right to him as he laid it in for a layup to tie the ballgame at 113 as we’d be heading to overtime.

The Celtics out-hustled the Wizards on the offensive glass to start the overtime period resulting in easy putback attempts and regaining the lead, 118-114. But just like in regulation, Wall continued to attack the hole and finish.

There was a scary sequence for Wall when he drove through the lane and got tangled up with Irving resulting in him landing awkwardly. After a quick breather, Wall would re-enter the game.

With the Wizards up 123-122, Wall crowded Irving on the wing but Kyrie pulled up for a three as Boston regained the lead, 125-123. Next time down with the game tied at 125, Kyrie would splash in a three from Montgomery County for the dagger putting Boston up for good.

Boston wins an overtime thriller, 130-125.