I've been back up in the Boston area with family for the past couple days, so I wasn't able to watch a single second of this one. It's probably unfortunate, because I would have loved to see the type of dominating performance the Wizards had tonight. The 15 point margin is deceiving; the Wizards were up 28 coming into the quarter and were never ahead by less than 12.
From what it seems, the Wizards won this game simply because they forced Memphis to play their tempo. The Grizzlies outrebounded the Wizards and once again had a substantial advantage at the free throw line. However, the Grizzlies turned the ball over 25 times, which sputtered any offensive hope. That, combined with really hot shooting from the Big 3, lead to the huge margin.
It seems that nobody can stop the Big 3 right now. For what seems like the upteenth time in a row, they went over their season average. Gilbert Arenas had 31 points, but did so on only 9 field goals. He hit all 10 of his free throws, which gave him a significant boost. Antawn Jamison had a big game with 26 points and 9 rebounds, and shot 4 for 5 from downtown. Per usual, Jamison had a great game at the same time Arenas had a solid one. When Arenas is playing well, Jamison follows suit. Caron Butler chipped in with 19 and Brendan Haywood added 15 and 9 boards. I can't forget about DeShawn Stevenson, who made me look good last night with a 6 for 9, 14 point performance, including 2 for 2 from downtown.
Defensively, the Wizards held Memphis to only 18 points in the first quarter. When the Wizards start well offensively, it translates to the defensive end. Memphis turned the ball over 8 times in the first quarter and never threatened after that. It's nice that the Wizards can blow teams out by playing well on both ends of the court, but it's still unclear as to whether they can play decent defense when they aren't scoring. This is going to be a lingering problem as the season goes forward.
For the Grizzles, Alexander Johnson had 23 points and 10 rebounds on 7 of 10 from the field and 9 of 10 from the line. This ordinairly isn't significant, but my brother has claimed to this day that the Wizards made a mistake in passing up Johnson with the 18th pick in last year's draft. It seems hard to believe that the Wizards really missed out on a guy who slipped all the way down to 45, but Johnson sure played well tonight, and the Wizards certainly could use him now with all their frontcourt injuries. Either way, it's too close to tell whether the Wizards made a mistake by drafting Oleisky Pecherov.
As a sidenote, blog contributer Gilbertology is giving away a free replica Gilbert Arenas jersey to his readers. Click the link for more information. And yes, in case you're wondering, there is going to be a good prize for the contest at the end. We're still working on it.