Coming off a difficult road trip, the Wizards had what should have been an easy game against a depleted, 5-32 Knicks team. For the most part, that’s exactly what it was. After trading baskets for much of the first quarter, the Wizards pulled away and ended up with a 9 point lead at the end of the quarter. They extended that lead in the second quarter and did so even more in the third. They got the lead as high as 20. The Knicks made a game of it midway through the fourth by cutting the lead to 5, but the Wizards knew they weren’t losing and brought the lead back up to 17.
The Wizards probably could have executed some stuff better, especially their offensive sets during that stretch in the fourth quarter, but overall there wasn't too much to complain about in tonight's game. Here's what we learned tonight, and what they can take from the win as they get ready for another tough string of games:
Nene is still good
Nene had 20 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists tonight on 8-13 shooting and is looking more spry after returning from his injury. He scored in a variety of ways, be it his improving mid range jumper, on post ups, or in pick and roll and served as a valuable outlet for the Wizards all night. The Knicks simply didn’t have the bigs to stop him. His defense was also top notch as he did a good job switching on to guards and blowing up pick and rolls as he normally does.
John Wall loves playing the Knicks
After netting 24 points and 12 assists on Christmas Day, John Wall killed it again tonight, mostly in transition with 18 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals.
John Wall tends to really take it to inferior teams like he did tonight, and that’s fine and necessary, but the Wizards upcoming schedule will really test him. The recent road trip did not display the best of his abilities from a scoring standpoint, and that’s where he needs to separate himself from the rest if he wants to consistently help the Wizards beat good teams.
He needs to make an effort to run against the good teams the same way he did against the Knicks tonight, because the Wizards are a team that thrives off of his transition play. Too often they get caught up in a slow, plodding halfcourt offense, and with their personnel, they need to start embracing the identity of a fast paced team with the most perhaps the most dynamic point guard in the league.
Paul Pierce has cool glasses
We always love to joke about Paul Pierce’s age, but it seems like he embraces his geriatrics as much as we do. These glasses are a thing of the 1970s, and Paul seems to wear them with pride. It was very much a fun little twist to an otherwise boring basketball game.
Paul Pierce's glasses are so thick they may be bulletproof pic.twitter.com/FFgSw6GGxM— Barely In Bounds (@BarelyIn) January 8, 2015