The Washington Wizards were able to outlast the Charlotte Hornets and Kemba Walker’s 47 points. The Wizards used a balanced effort to beat the Hornets 130-126, three different players scored 20 plus points and none of them were named Bradley Beal. It was a much needed win with the first reason being Washington needed it, the second was it came on a day when they found out John Wall would not be returning this season with that heel injury.
Against Chicago, Beal didn’t get much help. The Hornets like the Bulls, didn’t hesitate to send multiple waves of defenders at Brad. The difference in this one being that nearly every other Wizard player on the court made Charlotte pay for it. Trevor Ariza had a huge night with 24 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists. Thomas Bryant had a big second half to finish with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Tomas Satoransky was very assertive and he had to be as his man was often the one helping off, he finished with 20 points and knocked down four triples. Beal scored 19 points, had five assists and six steals.
Similar to the Bulls game, Beal started slow before starting to hunt for his a bit. He took seven shots in the first half as hole, then took seven in the third alone. Satoransky did have a big third though, scoring nine points and Bryant had five. The Wizards started the period with a six point lead, but saw it cut to two heading into the fourth.
Washington led by nine at one point in the fourth, but nearly every time they created some separation, Walker had an answer. Kemba scored a career high 24 points in the final quarter. Accounting for all but 10 of his team’s points in the quarter. Ariza led Washington with 12 points and the Wizards needed every one of them.
Washington held a nine point lead with 25 seconds left, leading 125-116. Beal got issued a technical and Kemba converted the free throw. The Wizards couldn’t seem to do anything right from that point on. Walker hit two more jumpers, Satoransky missed a pair of free throws. Kemba then hit a three pointer to cut the deficit to just one. Jeff Green found Trevor Ariza with a full court heave and Walker had to foul him. Ariza finished through the contact and converted the three point play to secure the win for Washington.
Satoransky. He finally made a team pay for essentially neglecting him on the defensive end. He took the opportunities to get down hill and took the open shots when they were given to him. Knocking down four of his seven attempts from deep, by being attack minded it really put the Hornets in a bind. He may not have 20 points every night, but simply by attacking he will make teams pay or at least question the decision to sag off of him.
Brown Jr. The rook got a chance to get some minutes and didn’t disappoint. He displayed his innate feel for the game, scoring nine points. He gave the second unit something they sorely needed, a natural playmaker. He and Sam Dekker played well off each other. Just a small sample size, but it was good to see him contribute as needed.
Balance. That’s what it’s going to take from here on out. Even when Otto and Keef get back, filling that gap of production with Wall out is a tall task. It will be done by committee. They did that against the Hornets as seven of the eight players to receive playing time scored in double figures.