We can all exhale. After a disappointing 0-3 start to the new season, the Washington Wizards finally got the monkey off their back and won their first game, a 116-102 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.
The starters played phenomenally tonight. John Wall hit a career-high five three pointers on the way to 24 points and nine assists, while Trevor Ariza and Bradley Beal chipped in 15 and 17 points. Marcin Gortat and Nene combined for 17 rebounds, 29 points and three blocks while bullying the less physical 76ers down low.
The defense as a whole was much tighter than it had been last week when the team blew an early lead to Philly. Thaddeus Young, who gets most of his points off of cuts to the basket and put backs, was limited to only seven points on 3-11 shooting tonight as opposed to the 29 off 14-20 shooting he had last week. This is directly attributable to a lack of breakdowns on Washington's end as well as more awareness from the big men.
This was a good win in which the team played hard and stuck to what it does well. It's an open question as to whether this lasts, but at least for one night, they looked like the fringe playoff team we were all promised. Game notes in chronological order are below.
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