It hasn’t happened often this year, but the Washington Wizards were dominant in a 20 point win over the Nets Friday night. The Wiz took control from the outset, racing out to an 18-to-3 lead after some sharp shooting from beyond the arc by Rashard Lewis and a suffocating defense. Washington finished the first quarter with a 30-to-13 lead, as Lewis scored 11 of his 16 points in the first, while JaVale McGee inspired a great defensive effort with four opening quarter blocks. It was apparent the Wizards were desperate for a victory, when after Nick Young and John Wall missed back-to-back free throws, Wall made his second from the charity stripe, but was still ticked he missed the first. Wall didn’t sulk, he didn’t laugh it off, and he didn’t let the miss affect his defense, where the Wizards really won the game.
Washington shot over 60 percent from the floor in the first quarter, but it was their team defense that ignited a struggling offense coming into the game. McGee’s blocks sent an early message, but it was John Wall, Nick Young and Lewis applying pressure on the wings that forced New Jersey into tough shots. Even Andray Blatche, who has been the subject of criticism and trade rumors, responded with one of his better all-around performances of the year (14 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks). It was an unselfish approach for the Wiz, with five players scoring in double figures, while Wall scored only five points but added nine assists. Rashard Lewis had by far his best performance in a Wizards uniform, scoring 16, pulling down a game high 13 rebounds, and his six assists trailed only Wall. Young had a tough shooting night, but still added 16 points and five dimes, and JaVale McGee seemed to be inspired by his selection to the NBA Slam Dunk contest, going 7-for-9 from the floor and scoring 15 points and grabbing seven boards to go along with his six rejections.
As impressive as Washington’s win was, they still have a 700-pound gorilla on their backs due to their 0-17 record on the road this season. The next two road games are perfect opportunities for the Wiz to end their road failures, starting with Charlotte on Saturday and if they blow that chance they go to Minnesota to face the lowly Timberwolves on Thursday. Even with Josh Howard resting his sore knee, the Wizards must find a way to end this embarrassing losing streak.
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.