The Washington Wizards were without John Wall for the fifth time this season, this time due to a knee injury, but an inspired team performance almost saw the Wiz pull off a huge comeback victory against the Orlando Magic. An exciting fourth quarter ended with a missed Gilbert Arenas jump shot as time expired, who couldn’t duplicate the heroics of Dwight Howard, who tipped in the winning basket with just over four seconds remaining.
The point guard formerly known as Agent Zero rolled back the clock tonight, scoring 31 points, while grabbing five rebounds and dishing out five assists. Meanwhile, perhaps the NBA’s sixth man of the year at this point of the season, Nick Young scored 21 points, and at one point Young was responsible for 17 of the Wizards’ 20 points during a hectic late third, early fourth quarter surge. With the score 68-65 Orlando, Young made a three to tie the game, then scored another 14 points in addition to an Andray Blatche dunk and Kirk Hinrich free throw to give Washington a late 87-82 lead. The Magic did just enough down the stretch to get the win, but Flip Saunders and Wizards fans can be proud of unexpected starter Alonzo Gee (8 points, 7 rebounds, 4 steals) and JaVale McGee, who didn’t have his best stat line but his defense and rebounding was much improved compared to his performance against Dwight Howard and Orlando on opening night.
Anyone who has watched this Wizards team this season can see their growth, especially on the glass (47 to 38 rebound advantage) and in protecting the basketball (just 12 turnovers). Eventually, efforts like this will result in victories, but for a young club still learning how to win in the NBA, losses like these are going to happen. The real test will be how this group of players responds to the adversity, and there is no better response than to pull off a shocking win against the Miami Heat in their next game.
About the Author
Written by Robert Bode
A sports die-hard through and through. I grew up playing almost every sport possible, and to this day I try to stay as active as possible. However, since I'm not a professional athlete, talking and writing about sports is the next best thing. A University of Florida graduate but living in my hometown of Washington D.C. (well Northern Virginia), my favorite teams are the Florida Gators, Miami Dolphins, Chicago White Sox, Washington Nationals, Real Madrid, good up-tempo NBA teams (so not the Knicks), and Washington Capitals.