NBA Wizards 

Wizards avoid sweep, Wall closes out Brooklyn in OT

On Polish Heritage Night the Washington Wizards hosted the Brooklyn Nets in the last part of their season series. The Nets were looking to complete the clean sweep while the Wizards were looking to avoid such a fate. After building a 20 point lead in the first half, the Wizards relaxed and Brooklyn stormed back into the game in the third and fourth quarter. A big shot by Quincy Acy forced overtime and then Washington finally closed out the Nets. Credit Brooklyn for playing incredibly hard all game, for the Wizards it was another Jekyl-Hyde type performance. John Wall closed things out in the extra period, finishing with 23 points and 16 assists. Bradley Beal had 24 points and 6 assists, Marcin Gortat’s contributions couldn’t be ignored. He had 16 points and 13 rebounds, creating several vital second chance opportunities for the Wizards. The Nets were led by Rondae Hollis-Jefferson with 22 points and they got 16 points and 8 rebounds from Jarrett Allen. 

Washington went from playing good defense in the first half, to bad defense in the second half, back to good defense in the extra period. Holding Brooklyn to just 12.5% shooting from the floor. Their only issue was fouling, the Nets went to the line four times. Gortat got things started in OT with a short jump hook off a pass from Wall. After a couple Brooklyn free throws, Wall found Beal for a 19 foot jumper, a couple plays later Beal hit a three pointer off a Wall helper to go up 114-109. Two more made free throws from Allen cut the Wizards lead to three, Wall responded with a midrange pullup to give Washington a five point lead. Hollis-Jefferson scored on a drive to bring Brooklyn within three. Washington went back to Wall on the ensuing possession, he again struck from midrange, burying a shot over Dinwiddie.

Defense may have been optional for much of the game against the Magic, but Washington was engaged early on that end of the floor against Brooklyn. Holding the Nets to just 39% shooting and 0-for-8 behind the arc, that effort paid off heavily. The Wizards led 21-6 with 5:26 left in the quarter, Bradley Beal finished the period with 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting (2-3 from deep). Markieff Morris had a solid start as well, scoring 9 points and knocking down both of his three point attempts. The Nets made up a bit of ground late when center Jarrett Allen got loose for a few dunks, the result of great penetration by Brooklyn’s guards.

The Wizards have been known to lose large leads this season, especially to teams under .500. The Nets failed to hit any of their eight attempts from deep in the first quarter, their first of the night hit the bottom of the net just a couple minutes into the second stanza. Brooklyn cut the 17 point lead down to 11 with 9:24 left in the half. Upon re-entering the game, Wall found Oubre for a triple, then continued where he left off in the win over the Magic. after consecutive baskets by Brooklyn, John went to work in the midrange area. Hitting a pull-up jump shot, before launching a turnaround baseline jumper that hit nothing but net. That steadied the Wizards and they closed the half strong.  With 1:03 left in the half, Wall found Gortat for a ferocious dunk.

It was a solid first half for Gortat, with 11 points and 8 rebounds. Oubre chipped in with 8 points as well. Brooklyn was led by DeMarre Carroll and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson with 9 and 8 points respectively.

The third quarter didn’t start well for the Wizards, he didn’t score for almost a full two minutes, in that time the Nets cut the lead to 15. Little by little, almost on schedule, the ball wasn’t moving as crispy for Washington and Brooklyn hit shots. Even a timeout didn’t slow things down for the Wizards, Brooklyn was gaining confidence and when RHJ found a cutting Allen for a layup, the once 20 point lead was cut to eight. A Wall drive didn’t fall, he thought he was fouled, but the Nets kept playing and a layup from Hollis-Jefferson cut the deficit to six. That wouldn’t be all as Washington’s offense continued to sputter, resulting in bad shots and turnovers. Tomas Satoransky came in for Wall and his activity picked up his teammates spirits it seemed. Beal found him cutting baseline for a layup, another stop resulted in a Beal three from the left wing and forced a Brooklyn timeout.

An Oubre triple after a big offensive putback by LeVert almost took the roof off the building, that gave Washington a nine point lead. It wouldn’t last as their inability to move their feet without fouling, put Brooklyn back on the free throw line. Dinwiddie drove and missed, but Allen followed it up with a big dunk to cut the Wizards lead to six. Oubre responded with a three from 32 feet out to beat the buzzer. That pushed the Wizards lead back up to nine.

Joe Harris started the fourth quarter off with a four-point play, hitting a three pointer while being fouled by Mahinmi. Washington responded with a small run, pushing the lead back to nine on a driving layup by Satoransky. A couple of minutes later the Wizards held an 11 point lead, but as had been the case for most of the second half, the Nets wouldn’t go away.

An Otto Porter jump shot with 4:15 left in regulation, gave Washington an 11 point lead. Then the Nets started to get hot from beyond the arc. Crabbe hit back to-back triples, then Dinwiddie buried one from deep to cut the Brooklyn deficit to three. During that span, Washington’s offense sputtered. Gortat spilt a pair of free throws, he then hit a jump hook in the lane and a Wall turnover is what led to a LeVert score in transition that cut the deficit to just one. The Wizards locked up on defense for the next two possessions, forcing turnovers. Wall was fouled and after hitting two free throws, Washington held a 107-104 lead with just 16 seconds left in regulation.

The Nets called timeout to advance the ball and set up a play, Spencer Dinwiddie came off a screen and attempted an off-balanced three pointer. He missed, but DeMarre Carroll crashed the glass and tipped the ball out of the paint. It landed in the hands of Brooklyn’s starting center for the night, Quincy Acy. He calmly picked up the ball, took a dribble to step back behind the three point line and drilled what was the tying shot. The Wizards did get a decent look, they inbounded the ball to Beal with 9.1 left and he swung it over to Wall. John had a matchup he liked, Nets center Jarrett Allen was on him, and gave him a couple of moves before taking a leaning baseline jumper, it didn’t fall. It was a shot John had hit earlier in the game. After playing sound defense in the first half, Washington gave up 68 points in the second half.

 

 

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