The Washington Wizards defeated the Philadelphia 76ers, 90-87, in front of a loud Verizon Center crowd. After about 46 minutes of back and forth basketball, Wizards rookie shooting guard Bradley Beal took a nasty spill and had to be carried off the court by two teammates. As impressive as the team's defensive effort and the late-game heroics of John Wall that followed were, it's hard to believe anyone affiliated with the organization will go home with a smile on their face, pending the results of Beal's X-Rays.
We'll continue to fill you in as more news breaks. In the meantime, here are game notes from what was otherwise a very interesting game.
- Washington looked solid early on, with Nene and Wall doing an excellent job of moving the basketball, while Beal, Webster and Okafor made quick decisions. Philadelphia got a couple of layups and it appeared that Nene might have been a bit hesitant to contest shots with his injured shoulder.
- Washington jumped out to an 18-10 lead, at which point Philadelphia called timeout. Soon thereafter, The Airwolf replaced Nene to a nice ovation. He was quickly beaten by Lavoy Allen who cut backdoor for a layup. Before the game, a reporter had asked Wittman about Vesely's status and the response wasn't pretty. He may still be in the doghouse and getting outmuscled on a regular basis, but at least someone remembers that he's still on the team. Unfortunately, Washington didn't score between Nene's exit and the next timeout and Philly rattled off seven straight points.
- A Beal jumper ended Washington's offensive drought. Philly countered and Ariza hit a corner three off Beal's penetration. With Wall out and Price still smarting, Beal is getting most of the playmaking duties early on when Wall's not in.
- Washington was up 26-22 after one. Jan had his ups and downs but there was more good than bad. He botched a rotation and botched a rotation, but he did a good job of running the floor and his length and agility really bother perimeter players. I have a feeling that the more he plays, the more settled and confident he'll get, at which point he'll cut down on the bad plays and his positive attributes will start to shine through. He may never be a star, but his combination of length, agility and quickness is rare.
- Philly stayed hot to start the second quarter, but about halfway through Washington pulled back ahead by five, 36-31. Long story short, good things happen when the offense runs through Nene and Price with Webster spotting up, Ariza making the extra pass and Seraphin staying out of the way. Washington's big lineup with Ariza at the 3, Webster at the 2 and Seraphin at the 4 did a good job of matching up with Philadelphia's assortment of long, tall guys who can shoot.
- Trevor Ariza had a couple of nice plays in the first half, including a drive for an and-one and a three from the corner. He also had at least four rebounds and an assist. His offensive output and ability to get to the basket depending on his matchup is valuable when Wall or Nene are struggling.
- Wall had a gorgeous 360 layup late in the first half. Look forward to seeing it on Sportscenter tomorrow.
- Washington was up 50-49 at the half. Nene and Ariza were Washington's best players, while Dorrell Wright and Evan Turner had the best halves for the 76ers. Washington has looked a little sloppy and unmotivated tonight and it's not fun seeing the youngsters struggle. Wall has been ineffective for most of the game, at least in any instances in which he wasn't playing in transition.
- Washington played well to start the third quarter. Nothing particularly noteworthy, just the typical Wizards-at-their-best stuff, at least on offense. Wall was quicker than everyone else on the court, Beal and Webster hit a couple of shots off of crisp ball movement and Nene beasted in the paint. Beal did a much better job of getting away from Holiday and making the 76ers' point guard work hard on defense.
- Jan checked in again in the third quarter and looked noticeably more relaxed. He followed a nice alley-oop dunk with back to back fouls on Thaddeus Young. He almost immediately got to the line for two free throws and bricked both. He came back with another dunk off a lob from Price to close the quarter, putting Washington up 72-68.
- Beal tried to take over the game at the start of the fourth quarter. Nene and Wall were out so it made sense and the dude did have a couple of nice plays (most notably a long three and a sick crossover on Wilkins), but that's not his game and the best you can really hope for when he tries to is that he'll get lucky or draw a foul.
- A Holiday three gave Philadelphia the lead, 83-82, with 4:26 left in the game. Washington had a few bad possessions, Philly and Holiday in particular had some good ones, and Washington's lead vanished. The Wizards missed a couple of point blank layups in a row, too, which only added to the team's frustration.
- Beal took a spill and had to be carried off the court. This is not good.
- After Beal's injury, Washington came back and a Wall layup put them down by one with 1:27 left. On his next trip down the floor he drew a foul, took a spill, and made the gimmes to put Washington back up by one. The fans came to their feet, Webster missed a three, Nene got the board, and the ball went back to Wall. Right to left, up, swish. Washington wins 90-87.