The Wizards climbed back to .500 tonight as they beat the Sacramento Kings at the Verizon Center, 93-84. Washington led comfortably for most of the game, going up by double digits in the second quarter and only letting the Kings back into it for a brief period early in the fourth quarter.
Washington's defense was on point tonight. Sacramento, who came into the game with the NBA's 13th best offense on a per possession basis, was held to 35% from the floor. Isaiah Thomas was the only King who could get anything going tonight as Washington packed the paint, frustrating Demarcus Cousins into a three of 16 shooting night and holding Rudy Gay to five points off of 11 field goal attempts. Nene, Marcin Gortat and Trevor Ariza all deserve props for their performances tonight, with all three delivering excellent two-way games.
Randy Wittman went with a tight rotation tonight and only gave Kevin Seraphin, Martell Webster and Garrett Temple any bench minutes of note. The team played very well on both ends of the floor, but you have to wonder if this is a good long-term strategy. Nene played 35 minutes, Ariza 38, Wall 36 and Bradley Beal 34. Otto Porter racked up another DNP-CD tonight, too, and he could benefit from the experience of playing against a good scorer like Gay when the Wizards have a large enough lead to survive a few mistakes.
- Washington looked good early on, moving the ball well and playing smart defense on the Kings. The Wizards ran a lot and saw a lot of open three pointers as a result. Seraphin looked good hitting jumpers out of the pick and pop, a shot that the Kings repeatedly conceded to him and Nene tonight. The Wizards led by about ten points for much of the first half largely because they were able to make more of these long twos than normal.
- A lot of the offense ran through Nene tonight. None of the Kings were able to consistently stay in front of him when he attacked the basket. As a a result, he drew a help defender almost every time he touched the ball and had 11 points and four assists by half time. Nene's a rarity in that he's capable of scoring with his back to the basket, off the dribble and with his jump shot, something that gives the Wizards' offense a lot of flexibility.
- Wall didn't have his first assist until around the 9:40 mark in the third quarter, yet he was still very effective tonight. A lot of the low assist total was a result of so much of the offense being run through Beal and Nene. He also got kind of torched by Isaiah Thomas, who repeatedly burned the Wizards with foul line jumpers and layups off of penetration.
- I liked what I saw from Marcin Gortat tonight. He played big, keeping the ball any time he caught it in the paint and playing smart defense. The Kings' big men stuck with him more or less all night and he was still able to score at a high rate and be a force on the boards.
- Bradley Beal had a nice all-around game, finishing with 16 points, six rebounds and six assists. Washington ran a lot of pick and rolls with him as the ball handler and he delivered time and time again. His jumper was money all night and he hit a couple of sweet threes from the corner, making four of five throughout the course of the game.
- Quincy Acy had a nasty dunk on Gortat tonight. Check this out.
Kevin Seraphin saw some burn and played well, finishing with ten points and eight rebounds in 23 minutes. He's still having trouble finding his teammates and makes the occasional dumb defensive play so he probably shouldn't play more than this, but for a third or fourth big man, he's been looking pretty good lately. He's really helpful against strong post players like Cousins.