The Washington Wizards were able to beat the Sacramento Kings 113-99 without starters Bradley Beal and Otto Porter. Filling in for them in the starting lineup was Garrett Temple and Kelly Oubre Jr. Despite the solid play from both, the story of the night was John Wall and Marcin Gortat. Wall had a career night setting a new career high in assists with 19 and Gortat had a monster night putting up 29 points and 16 rebounds against arguably the best center in the league in Demarcus Cousins.
Wall struggled mightily in the month of November, with averages of 14 points and seven assists with a 45% TS%(true shooting percentage). The All-Star point guard has been on a complete tear for the month of December, posting 23 points and 11 assists with a 58% TS%. He looks healthy again after struggling with what was said to be a nagging ankle injury per multiple reports. Just as important for the Wizards is continued play from Gortat who has also struggled this season and at times looked completely uncomfortable in the Wizards new system.
Part of the reason for Gortat’s success today was due to John getting into the lane and finding him, nine of John’s 19 helpers were to the Polish hammer, who was able to out work and out hustle Cousins tonight. Marcin was able to beat Cousins down the floor on more than one occasion, simply by outworking the Kings star. Cousins was able to get 22 points, but shot just 8-of-22 from the floor, the Wizards was to keep him away from the rim and it worked. Another factor comes down to the system he plays in for Sacramento, he definitely isn’t in the best situation from that regard.
Washington is just four games out of second place in the East despite the early struggles, if this team can survive the Bradley Beal injury and if Temple can keep playing close to this level they may be able to move up ranks. Speaking of Temple, he scored 23 points on 8-of-17 shooting, but went 5-of-10 from beyond the arc.
The Wizards are now 12-14, they will face the Memphis Grizzles at home on Wednesday while the Kings will be on the road facing the Indiana Pacers, they’ll also be playing that night.