After another road loss to Charlotte on Saturday, Washington returned home to face Sacramento, one of the few teams with less wins than the Wizards. Despite the freezing rain and snow outside the Verizon Center, both teams were scorching the nets with terrific shooting, with the hottest hand belonging to Nick Young. The match-up featured Kentucky rookies John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins, but it was Young’s 43 point performance that stole the show.
A few weeks back I said Young was one of, if not the favorite to be the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year. Since then, he has established himself as a starter for this Wizards team, and is now a prime candidate for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award. Young played 45 minutes, shot 14-of-22 from the floor, making a career best 7-of-10 from three, while adding four rebounds and three assists. As for the battle between Wall and Cousins, neither player shot very well from the floor (Wall was 6-of-19, Cousins 4-of-19), but Wall played the more complete game by far. Wall scored 22 points, added nine assists and grabbed six rebounds with two steals (and six turnovers), while Cousins notched ten points and eight rebounds.
Despite Wall and Cousins shooting terribly, each team shot 49 percent from the field and at least 80 percent from the charity stripe. Ask Flip Saunders and his team which statistic is often the difference between wins and losses this season, and they will more than likely respond “rebounding.” In this game, Washington dominated on the glass, out-rebounding the Kings 55 to 40. The Wizards had less assists, steals, blocks and more turnovers than Sacramento, but yet they still won thanks to good three point shooting and excellent hustle after missed shots. Of course, the Wizards never needed to go to overtime, but sloppiness down the stretch and tired legs allowed the Kings to force the extra period. Luckily, the Wizards dug deep and found a way to grab a big home victory and momentum before a road trip to Minnesota.
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.