It wasn't pretty, it wasn't cute, it wasn't something you'll want to relive a whole lot, but the Wizards salvaged their five game road trip with a 92-85 win over the New Orleans Pelicans. The win gives the Wizards a 2-3 against five of the Western Conference's best teams.
John Wall and Jrue Holiday harassed each other all night, as you'd expect when two of the best defensive point guards go at it. But at the end of the day, Wall's 15 point, 12 assist performance wound up outpacing the Holiday's 13 point, 5 assist performance as the Wizards slogged their way through New Orleans for the win.
Here's what we learned from the final game of the Wizards' road trip.
Andre Miller bails out another sloppy bench performance
Simply put, the bench has not performed well as part of this road trip, save for Andre Miller, and the occasional flash from Otto Porter. Rasual Butler has begun cooling off, Kevin Seraphin is still a work in progress and Kris Humphries is a lot less intimidating when he's going up against the likes of Anthony Davis, Dirk Nowitzki, Tim Duncan and the West's other great big men.
But still, Andre Miller. Through most of the early season, he's dealt it out and let others claim the damage, but during this road trip, he's taken things into his own hands when the rest of the unit can't get it going. On Friday, he had a 15 point outburst against the Thunder. Tonight, he followed it up by scoring 12 points in 14 minutes on a perfect 5-5 shooting performance from the field, including this cruel fadeaway on Austin Rivers:
Wizards show they can play with the big boys out West (really!)
You can look at the Wizards' 2-3 record on this road trip against the Western Conference and say that it shows the Wizards can't keep up with the West, but I disagree. Sure, they might not be a top-four team in the West like they currently are in the East, but they would be in the playoff picture. They just swept the Pelicans, who are on the outside fringes of the playoff picture, they beat the sixth-seeded Rockets in Houston, and they gave a full-strength Thunder squad a run for their money in Oklahoma City.
Lest anyone try to tell you otherwise, the Wizards showed on this road trip they can go toe-to-toe with anyone in the West. Well, they couldn't hang with Dallas, but hey, anyone can have a bad night on a road trip. They may not be elite, but they're certainly not just an Eastern Conference fraud either.
The Wizards got three victories away from New Orleans
- In case you didn't hear, the Cavaliers were part of an interesting three-way trade with the Knicks and Thunder, in which they receive Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith. Certainly, there are some scenarios where this could wind up being a very good thing for the Cavaliers, but there's also plenty of scenarios where J.R. Smith amplifies the Cavaliers' issues. Until we know for sure, we're going to count it as a panic move, which is a win for the Wizards.
- Because the trade made several players ineligible for tonight's game, and because LeBron James and Kyrie Irving are dealing with injuries, the Cavaliers wound up losing to the Sixers.
- Surely, Dion Waiters heading to the Thunder will only heighten Kevin Durant's desire to leave Oklahoma City. Thanks for the assist, Cleveland!