Washington 116, Philadelphia 102, Postgame Review, Game 4 of 82

  • Ralph Thompson Jr

Wizards star forward John Wall throws down for a monster jam in the team’s 116-102 victory over the 76er’s on Thursday (courtesy of the team’s website)

With John Wall’s 24 points and 9 assists leading seven Wizards in double figures, Washington gained its first road win of the season, 116-102 at Philadelphia. Washington never trailed, as Nene’s return to the starting lineup bolstered the team on both ends of the floor.

Washington shot 43.9% from the floor, 75% from the line, and totaled 40 rebounds, 32 assists on 43 baskets, 10 steals, 11 turnovers and 5 blocked shots. Marcin Gortat added 19 points and 12 rebounds. Bradley Beal contributed 17 points and 8 assists, but struggled again with his shot (7/20 FG/A, 3/9 3 Pt FG/A). Nene added 10 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks in 29 minutes. The

Philadelphia shot 47% from the floor, 69% from the line, and totaled 50 rebounds, 26 assists on 39 baskets, 5 steals, 20 turnovers and 3 blocks. Evan Turner led the Sixers with 24 points, while Spencer Hawes added 23 with 13 rebounds. Rookie Michael Carter-Williams continued his strong early season play with 19 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds.

Washington started the game with a flourish. Led by Marcin Gortat’s 5 of 6 from the floor, the Wizards came out scoring nearly at will. Washington led 39-27 at the end of the first quarter, countering the Sixers’ high energy level with crisp ball movement and good looks at the rim. As the second quarter commenced, Washington’s second unit had trouble scoring due to Philadelphia’s defensive effort. The Wizards’ lead was whittled down to 3 points (43-40, 6:54 left). Then, Bradley Beal hit a jumper, Nene tossed in a couple of free throws, Trevor Ariza nailed a three, and Beal concluded the 9-2 run with a dunk. The Wizards kept up the offensive pressure the rest of the way to secure that much-needed first win of the season.

Two things I noticed: one, Nene’s presence makes a substantial difference. Offensively, he’s patient with the ball and shows nice court vision finding open teammates. Defensively, he challenges shots and the occasional interior pass. With Nene’s activity level, Gortat can go back to being that solid weak side post defender/rebounder.

Two, Wall is insistent on being that leader on both ends of the floor. He’s fast enough end-to-end to get his points whenever he wants. But, he works hard at getting teammates the ball in places where they either have an open look or they can make that next pass that finds another open teammate. When Wall is on the floor, the offense flows nicely. Teammates expect better ball movement, and the offense gets great opportunities. Wall-Beal-Ariza, with Gortat or Nene trailing, is a solid fast-breaking unit.

Washington gets to breathe a sigh of relief before hosting the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night. Looking at the Nets’ roster, there are lots of familiar names. Kevin Garnett. Paul Pierce. Reggie Evans. Deron Williams. Joe Johnson. Andrei Kirilenko. Smart, tough, experienced players all over that roster. Can Washington bring enough intensity to overcome Brooklyn’s experience?

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DCSK Contributor Ralph Thompson Jr., @SomRandomOlDude
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