Coming off two straight losses, the Wizards got back on the winning track Saturday with a 104-87 pounding of the Bobcats. Along with your recap roundup, be sure to check out our StoryStream along with these postgame interviews with Randy Wittman, John Wall, Nene and Trevor Ariza, courtesy of Monumental Network.
The dominant win featured Nene using force and finesse inside, Trevor Ariza and Martell Webster hitting from the outside, and rookie Bradley Beal once again watching from the sideline. With the victory, the Wizards (20-41) matched their season win total from the lockout-shortened, 66-game campaign last season - and put the loss to Brooklyn in the rear view.
"You can't worry about the past," Ariza said after scoring a season-high 26 points and recording his second double-double of the season with 10 rebounds. "You just have to move forward every day. I don't even remember [the loss to Brooklyn] to be honest with you."
Ariza had been inserted into the starting lineup the previous two games because of Beal's injury, but the Wizards lacked scoring off the bench and Ariza wasn't as effective. They lost both.
Making the switch, however, was about more than statistics. Point guard John Wall needed help in the backcourt.
"It gives us a little bit more early ball-handling with Brad out. We miss Brad's ability to put the ball on the floor," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "Garrett can do some of those things if we're pressured. I just felt like we were getting really over-extended. Teams really picking up on John knowing there's nobody else to alleviate any of that.
"It was good just to get a win period," Wall said. "After the losing the last two games and how everything ended [against the Brooklyn Nets], we wanted to come out and not let this one slip away. I think we did a great job of closing this one out, we kind of let [the Bobcats] come back in the game in the third quarter but we kept a decent enough lead."
''Don't talk to me about slumps,'' Washington coach Randy Wittman said. ''I don't want to hear anything about that. We've all been there. I've been there, you've been there. It doesn't matter who we're playing, Charlotte, Brooklyn, it doesn't matter. I don't want these guys looking at 'This is a team that is struggling.' We've got to take care of business our way, and I thought we did that tonight.''
Nene fell one point shy of his first 20-point game since Feb. 11, but his dominance in the low post sparked the victory. Nene finished with 19 points on 6-for-12 shooting, eight rebounds, four assists and two blocks.
The first quarter was the only part of this game that was really competitive. The Wizards started the game shooting the ball exceptionally well but turned the ball over six times so could not develop much of a cushion over the Bobcats, closing the quarter with a three point lead. The second quarter was a different ballgame as the Wizards absolutely dominated the Bobcats, using a 23-6 run to go up by 17 at the half.
From there it was cruise control for the most part, as the Bobcats would get as close as nine but the Wizards would immediately go on a 10-1 run at that point to push it back to 18. Trevor Ariza played the hero in the fourth quarter, burying the Bobcats with 14 points in the final frame.
Going into the game, this seemed like one of the best chances for the Bobcats to get their 14th victory. In the second quarter, the Wizards put an end to those thoughts with a 32-18 quarter. The Bobcats at some points cut into the lead and looked like they were going onto a run to make it competitive, but the Wizards quickly put them back down.