Here's your roundup of reaction to last night's thorough Wizards victory over the injury-ridden Timberwolves. As always, head to our StoryStream for more coverage, and also check out these postgame interviews with Randy Wittman, John Wall, Bradley Beal and A.J. Price.
Nene saved a loose ball under the Minnesota Timberwolves' basket and never had to bother running after tossing a pass ahead to John Wall at midcourt. After catching the pass, Wall found an extra gear, avoided a reach-in by Dante Cunningham, did a pirouette around Ricky Rubio, dipped past Derrick Williams and flipped an underhanded, no-look shot off the glass that even he could not explain.
"I didn't even know what I was doing there," Wall said.
It was that easy for Wall and the Washington Wizards on Friday night, with his return to the starting lineup leading to a series of circus shots and highlight plays providing the necessary boost for a wire-to-wire 114-101 victory at Verizon Center.
Wizards Insider: Wizards record third straight double-digit win at home
The Wizards (10-31) had to wait until reaching the halfway point of the season to finally move out of the NBA basement after their resounding win over the shorthanded Timberwolves; their fourth consecutive win at home. They are a half-game better than the Charlotte Bobcats and only a half-game worse than the Cleveland Cavaliers for the third-worst record in the league. But their sights are much higher, though the playoffs appear to be a fantasy with them trailing the Boston Celtics (20-23) by nine games for the eighth spot.
The Wizards are no longer the worst team in the NBA. With the way they're playing of late, it'd be easy to mistake them for one of the league's best.
They led from start to finish and by as many as 23 points in Friday's 114-101 victory over Minnesota, their fourth straight win at Verizon Center. They shot a season-best 57.8 percent from the field. They played the same high-quality brand of team basketball - 11 different players helped account for 29 assists - that has become the norm in the eight games since John Wall's return. In his first start of the year, there were no signs of it abating.
Now the Wizards have their first four-game home winning streak since April 2011. Now they have three straight home wins by 10 or more points for the first time since 2008. Now having reached the official halfway point of the season, they will see where the season takes them from here.
Rubio just couldn't handle John Wall tonight. There were sequences in which Wall left Rubio in the dust, which lead to easy layups or open lanes for Wall's teammates. He put Rubio on ice skates tonight. Wall made his first start tonight, scoring 14 points and 5 assists in just 21 minutes of play. He held Ricky Rubio to just 1 for 8 shooting.
All in all, this was the exact type of homecoming the Wizards needed following their 5-game road trip which ended with a buzzkilling performance in Utah. The Wizards, now winners of six of their last nine games, executed with relative ease tonight, as six (almost seven) players finished in double figures. It was one of those nights where literally every player who touched the hardwood contributed in some fashion. Of those players, I'm going to mark Martell Webster (again) as the stud of the night. Webster only tallied 13 points but it's the consistency he displays on a nightly basis that plays a tremendous factor in the Wizards' overall success. And boy is that spot up 3-ball of his convenient. Webster knocked three of those down tonight along with a few boards and assists. With his relentless effort on the court, combined with an awesome personality in the locker room, Webster has truly shaped into the gem of this last summer's free agency class.
The Wizards led by as many as 23 points and with the comfortable margin of victory were able to manage player's minutes. All 13 players that dressed played with six finishing in double figures scoring led by JORDAN CRAWFORD off the bench with 19 points. The ability to spread out the minutes might help the Wizards with another game at home tonight against Chicago.
The Wizards jumped out to an early lead and although the Wolves would make a run to keep it close, the second half was rarely in doubt as the Wizards led by double digits for nearly the entire half. John Wall continued his stellar play since making his return two weeks ago and finished with 14 points and five assists, including an acrobatic spin move and reverse layup that had the crowd in awe. Bradley Beal also had another strong performance, finishing with 16 points, while Martell Webster put in 13 against his former team on 3-4 from behind the arc. Kevin Seraphin finished the game with 10 points.
The Wizards entered the game last in the league in scoring (90.9) and overall shooting (41.7 percent) and 25th in three-point shooting (33.9). Then they went out and shot 57.8 percent and went 8-for-17 on three-pointers, scoring the most points allowed by the Wolves this season. Six Washington players scored in double figures, including Jordan Crawford's 19 off the bench, 16 from Bradley Beal and 14 from John Wall.
To be fair, the Wizards, who won for the sixth time in nine games and the fourth consecutive time at home, are getting healthy. Wall, playing in his eighth game since returning from a knee injury, got his first start. And his dribble penetration helped get everything started for Washington.
58%. Say it with me, kids. Fifty-eight percent.
That's what the Wizards shot against your defenseless (pun intended) Puppies tonight. 58%. That now makes 8 games out of 13 just this month that the Wolves have given up 50% or better shooting to their opponent.