The Washington Wizards had just nine players available tonight, and only seven that Randy Wittman was willing to play. Ramon Sessions spotted John Wall, Garrett Temple, and Kelly Oubre at the guard/wing spots, while Humphries gave Gortat and Dudley some well-needed breathers. The lack of depth showed, but the Wizards still used nearly impeccable ball movement (31 assists on 42 made field goals; just 11 team turnovers) and a brilliant game from John Wall to put the game away 113-99.
Themes from the game
John Wall and Marcin Gortat picked apart the Kings’ defense
The Kings - and particularly, DeMarcus Cousins - are not known for their defensive ferocity. Wall, who has been playing with a sprained ankle for some time now, struggled from the field shooting just 4/15. But he destroyed Sacramento as a playmaker, getting a career high 19 assists. In particular, Wall and Gortat attacked Cousins in pick and rolls. Gortat finished the game with 27 points 16 rebounds. Wall’s 19th assist, fittingly, came on a three by Dudley.
Kelly Oubre and Garrett Temple continue to shine
Neither Temple or Oubre were expected to even be serious rotation players this season, with the acquisition of Gary Neal and Alan Anderson to back up the guard and wing spots. But injuries have put both in starting roles, and they have been spectacular. Temple was particularly good tonight, going 5-10 from three and outhusting everyone else on the court. Kelly Oubre picked up his customary 4 rookie fouls, but played very well defensively and went 2/2 from three. He was also featured in one of the best plays of the night that lead to 0 points, hitting an ally oop from Wall that was waived off due to a foul before the shot. Temple finished with a career-high 23 points, including the Steve Buckhantz "Dagger!" shot with 21 seconds to go (though really, the game was already won).
Rebounding is still a problem
The Wizards shot 51 percent and held the Kings to just 41 percent. They also won the turnover battle 11-16, and made twice as many threes. But the Kings owned the boards, out-rebounding the Wizards 46-38. The Wizards first offensive rebound of the entire game didn’t come until the 7:47 mark of the third quarter. The guards and wings helped narrow the margin in the second half, but until Nene comes back it’s hard to see this problem going away.