NBA Wizards 

Scott sparks Wizards early, Wall and Beal close door on Clippers

In the second game of their four game home stand, the Washington Wizards hosted the Los Angeles Clippers. Things looked great early when they found themselves up by 18, but they’d lose the lead and have to take the game from the banged up visitors late in the contest. Washington got great performances from Mike Scott (22 points) and Tomas Santoransky (11 points) off the bench. Their big time backcourt stepped up late to close the door on the Clippers, Wall and Beal combined to score 35 points on the night along with 17 rebounds. Beal had 20 points and 11 boards, while Wall had 15 points and 6 rebounds. Lou Williams and Jawun Evans led the way for the Clippers with 23 and 15 points respectively.

Washington started slow in the first quarter, silly fouls by both teams resulted in the period lasting a bit longer as here were 14 trips to the foul line between them. Los Angeles was held to just 31% shooting from the floor, so Washington definitely hurt themselves by committing 8 fouls in the period. Despite all the stoppage, neither team really took advantage of their trips to the line, the Clippers shot 62.5% to Washington’s 50%.

To no one’s surprise, Washington’s second unit played a big role in them creating separation from Los Angeles. Satoransky and Scott led the way, helping the Wizards build a lead of 18 at one point. That unit was responsible for 16 of Washington’s 23 points in the quarter. As has been the case most of this season, Washington’s starters returned and the lead was nearly surrendered. 

The Clippers got big quarters out of both Lou Williams and rookie Jawun Evans, scoring 7 points a piece. Their team would outscore the Wizards 25-23 in the period  cut the deficit to five by the end of the half. Los Angeles got hot from beyond the arc, knocking down four of their seven attempts

The Wizards came out at the start of the second half with a renewed energy on the defensive end. That would help them open the five point lead back up to 13, but the Clippers did a good job of staying within striking distance. They would get a few timely buckets to stop Washington runs, several of them by Williams. Wall made a few plays as well in the quarter, hitting a tough fadeaway jumper and emphatically blocking a shot by Clippers guard Jawun James. Scott kept going for Washington, scoring 10 in the period, Tomas found him for his 20th point of the night when he attacked a closeout and dropped it off to a cutting Scott. Washington would lead 75-64 heading into the fourth quarter.

The fourth quarter started slow, Washington had a different lineup with four bench players and Morris on the floor. They struggled to find success on the offensive end, that allowed the Clippers to stay in the game despite them having little to no rhythm on the offensive end.

That would change when Jawun Evans sparked a Los Angeles run, which he personally capped with a midrange jumper to even things at 79. His energy seemed to be infectious, there was a sequence n which he took the ball from Wall in the backcourt and drew a foul, then nearl stole the ensuing imbound pass. Beal would hit a three to break the tie, but a Wall turnover would result in a transition three from Williams.

With the game tied at 82 a piece, Washington needed someone to make a play. With 4:52 on the clock, Markieff stole an inbounds pass and raced down court for the finish. The Wizards got a stop and Wall buried a triple, then another stop led to midrange jumper by Beal. Just like that, the Wizards got the separation they needed.

Williams would respond yet again by hitting a triple off an inbound play, but good ball movement by Washington resulted in a 4-point play by Kelly Oubre. The ball was swung a couple times and Morris had the option of shooting a decent look from three, but he made an extra pass and Oubre was the beneficiary of a great look from deep.

Gortat went to the line with 2:15 left and split the pair at the line, but he somehow tips rebound out for new possession. That would result in Wall going at Evans, getting the kid off balance and pulling up and knocking down a foul line extended jumper. Evans closeout was a bit aggressive so John went to the line to complete the and-1 opportunity.

Mike Scott played a big role most of the night and Washington’s stellar backcourt stepped up when it was closing time. Losing a double-digit lead is never ideal, but the Wizards got the stops when needed to get a second consecutive win. Cleveland is in town on Sunday, so Washington could ill afford to start this home stand anything other than 2-0.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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