That’s five straight for the Wizards!
Despite a couple of injury scares, Washington was able to win game one in Atlanta behind strong efforts from the youngsters. John Wall had a near triple double with 18 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds. Bradley Beal finished with 28 points, seven rebounds and a sprained ankle. Otto Porter came off the bench to snag 11 boards and score 10 points.
MyMindOnSports’ Troy Jefferson takes a look at the top ten reasons the Wizards won game one.
1. Atlanta went cold in the second half
• Washington did a better job of contesting shots in the second half but they were helped out with the Hawks missing shots they usually make.
2. Drew Gooden’s 14 quality minutes
• Gooden was a force offensively in a short period of time, he was able to connect on two of his three 3-point attempts and defensively he actually showed some of effort when it came to closing out on Paul Millsap and Al Horford (I’m talking to you Nene).
3. Brad Beal didn’t settle offensively
• There was a time not so long ago when Beal would come off screens and settle for the mid range jumper. Lately, Beal has bucked that trend and looked to drive down the lane off screens, today it resulted in ten free throw attempts.
• Otto once again came in off the bench and did a little bit of everything. In the first quarter, he checked in and scored five quick points to tie the game at 20.
Porter is starting to gain the trust of Wittman as well, once again he trusted Otto in the closing minutes/quarter, allowing him to play the last 16 minutes and change. Porter had a career high 11 rebounds and was once again a defensive stopper, helping to hold DeMarre Carroll to just three second half points.
• 91-90… need a bucket, who do you go to? Pierce did it again, finishing only second behind Beal with 19 points. He got in some foul trouble early and only played 31 minutes but again provided timely buckets.
6. Accuracy at the charity stripe
• 19/22 (86%) at the line compared to Atlanta’s 11/14 (78%)
7. Beal’s defense on Korver
• Holding Korver to 5/15 shooting is no easy feat, you can thank Brad for running literally through screens and sticking on Korver like glue.
8. Good coaching
• Atlanta was just unconscious in the first half but I never felt like the Wizards had a bad plan defensively. Nene probably played a little more minutes than he deserved but Wittman’s use of Gooden was brilliant. The small lineup with Pierce at the four was once again a difference maker and I loved the Sessions- Wall backcourt.
9. Gortat’s activity
• Gortat left no question on Sunday afternoon that he’s the best big man on the team. The Gortat/ Wall two man game was once again lethal, Gortat was able to slip past the defense a couple of times for some easy conversions. Gortat’s activity was also able to create opportunities for others like: Otto backdoor cuts/ corner 3s and Wall midrange jumpers.
10. Sessions- Wall lineup
• Sessions came in and held the fort down when Beal went out with the sprained ankle in the second half. He’s not flashy but he keeps the ball moving and makes sure everyone stays involved like a classic point guard should. Sessions had a +10 plus/minus.