It certainly wasn't as thrilling as triple-overtime in Toronto, but coming off a stretch where the Wizards had lost four-of-five, beating the Eastern Conference-leading Pacers, 91-78, to remain above .500 and, more importantly, increase their lead over the Bobcats for the conference's sixth-seed to 2.5 games has to be in the conversation for the biggest win of the season, no?
I mean, it's hard to come up with one that has been more important. It's cliche, but every game grows in importance as the season winds down and teams are jockeying for playoff positioning. Along those lines, tonight's tilt against the Hawks is huge, and Monday's game against the Cats is critical.
But man, what a win. I certainly didn't see it coming, but I really should have. After all, this is what the Wizards do: wins against the league's best interspersed among losses to teams they should beat.
Marcin Gortat was brilliant, recording 17 points and 12 rebounds, but more importantly, helping hold Roy Hibbert to eight points and two rebounds. John Wall guided the offense expertly, finishing with 20 points and eight assists. With Bradley Beal and Trevor Ariza both struggling from the field (they went a combined 4-for-25), Martell Webster and Al Harrington provided some much-needed punch off the bench, scoring 11 and 12 points, respectively. Drew Gooden continued to provide solid minutes, and though he didn't score much, he helped keep the paint locked down when Gortat needed a breather.
Huge win. Hopefully this fully snapped the Wiz out of their recent funk.
Road team recaps: BF StoryStream | Washington Post | AP | CSN Washington (recap, sidebar) | Wiz of Awes | DC Pro Sports Report | Wizards.com | Monumental Network
Home team recaps: Indy Cornrows | Indy Star | 8 Points, 9 Seconds | Ink On Indy | Pacers.com
Postgame interviews: Randy Wittman | John Wall | Bradley Beal | Marcin Gortat | Trevor Ariza
35.4 - Indiana's field-goal percentage against the Wizards.
15.4 - Indiana's three-point percentage against the Wizards.
TWEETS OF THE NIGHT
If you were in doubt, let me clear it up: Gortat is a grown-ass man.— Bullets Forever (@BulletsForever) March 28, 2014
John Wall is so good.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) March 28, 2014
and now 10-time MVP Drew Gooden checks in for Washington. Can't believe the Wizards signed the world's best player ever so cheaply— SB Nation NBA (@SBNationNBA) March 28, 2014
Back in Andre Miller’s day, blocks weren’t a stat.— Mike Prada (@MikePradaSBN) March 28, 2014
If the Wizards keep this lead until the end of the game, I will give my mom my laptop without deleting my browsing history and cookies— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) March 28, 2014
@BulletsForever pic.twitter.com/kD3phd32xo— Alec Minicucci (@SwaggerlessAlec) March 28, 2014
Bill Raftery and Verne Lundquist at a timeout during UConn-Iowa State at MSG. pic.twitter.com/IvizglJchh— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) March 29, 2014
Hibbert gets his first FG at 6:33 .... of the 3rd qtr #WizardsTalk #NBA #WizPacers— J. Michael (@JMichaelCSN) March 29, 2014
NBA point guards under 25? I'd take John Wall because he still has a ways before he hits his ceiling.— Dave Zirin (@EdgeofSports) March 29, 2014
Hibbert, Turner and Porter have combined for four points. David Falk should have gone to see Nas at Kennedy Center.— Jack Kogod (@Unsilent) March 29, 2014
OH MY GOD WHY ARE THEY PLAYING THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: LINK TO THE PAST THEME SONG IN THE VERIZON CENTER?— Bullets Forever (@BulletsForever) March 29, 2014
I'm not complaining. I'm just confused, fascinated, and pleased.— Bullets Forever (@BulletsForever) March 29, 2014
Guys, seriously. The Verizon Center PA just played this song. https://t.co/nNmTfSdHn3— Bullets Forever (@BulletsForever) March 29, 2014
Trevor Ariza is having a phenomenal year. I feel like we're not saying this enough— Umair Khan (@UKhanNBA) March 29, 2014
I HAVE RETURNED. #wizards pic.twitter.com/EcEOAyCWyf— Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks) March 29, 2014
This is fantastic. Great fight. Al Harrington’s been a huge boost tonight.— Mike Prada (@MikePradaSBN) March 29, 2014
If folks weren't allowed to use "crafty," "savvy," or "veteran" to describe Andre Miller, would he become HE WHO WILL NOT BE ANALYZED?— Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks) March 29, 2014
cray pic.twitter.com/qlNtImcj2s— Bullets Forever (@BulletsForever) March 29, 2014
When I was young / and never needed anyone / when takin' 3s was just for fun those days are gone *chorus* All by myself. Don't wanna Beal,— Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks) March 29, 2014
We're coming for primetime next year. We're knocking at the door. Let us in. #Wizards— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) March 29, 2014
John Wall doing his serious face Gilbert impression. Ice cold.— Jack Kogod (@Unsilent) March 29, 2014
Salivating at the thoughts of a game like this being on national television. The world needs to see how good this team can be. #Wizards— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) March 29, 2014
If you're not slow clapping at home or at the arena, you're doing it wrong. Big, necessary win for the #Wizards.— Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks) March 29, 2014
Great, great, great, great, great wire to wire win.— Bullets Forever (@BulletsForever) March 29, 2014
"Ariza 2 for 12 and Beal 2 for 13 and we won by 13. We did it defensively" -Wittman thoughts on big win— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) March 29, 2014
"The ball doesn't always have to go in to win a game." -Wittman on what he told team after win #WizPacers— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) March 29, 2014
"I don't care as much about being in the top six as much as I care about playing as well as we did tonight." Wittman on playoff seeding— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) March 29, 2014
Paul George (6-22 FG): "We missed a lot of shots. Gortat is probably the defensive player of the year. You couldn’t get nothing." #Wizards— Ben Standig (@BenStandig) March 29, 2014
Nets' magic number is two, Wizards it's two, Bobcats five, Atlanta nine.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) March 29, 2014
VIDEO/GIF OF THE NIGHT
Release the Gooden? Unveil the Gooden? Whatever you want to call it, this was all of us last night.
Some more fun GIFs, courtesy of Mike.
Then there was this.
GAMETHREAD COMMENT OF THE NIGHT
|20||John Wall Stan||4|