As Garrett Temple goes, the Wizards go. At least over the past three games.
Once again, Temple scored 20 points as the Wizards got revenge and beat the Grizzles, 100-91. Ramon Sessions was not far behind scoring 16 off the bench, and John Wall who notched his 14th double-double of the season with 14 points and 14 assists.
The Wizards have won three straight games and have held their last two opponents under 100 points after letting the prior 10 opponents score 100+ points.
The new and improved pace portion of the pace-and-space offense was on display as the Wizards scored nine transition points in the first quarter. The Wizards ended the quarter on a 7-2 run behind six assists from Wall as the Wizards enjoyed a 25-18 lead after one.
The Wizards used an 11-0 run in just 1:30 to stretch the lead to 16, 36-20 early in the second quarter.
Ramon Sessions came in and did what he does best, get into the painted area and get to the foul line. Sessions ended the night 5-6 from the charity stripe and had no problems slicing through the Grizzlies defense.
The third quarter had quite the entertainment factor. Heat checks from Humphries, step back threes from Temple, and even a 12-foot floater from DeJuan Blair.
The Wizards used a 16-2 run punctuated by a Humphries three-pointer from straight away to stretch this lead to 22 at one point and lead 81-65 after three.
The Wizards were pretty careful with the ball tonight but committed too many turnovers including two straight to start the fourth quarter. This resulted in transition buckets for the Grizzles as they were able to cut the lead to 7, 90-83 at the midway point of the fourth quarter.
That would be the closest they get as Temple and Wall hit timely three-pointers late as the Wizards pulled away and won 100-91.
Pace and Space: The Wizards executed the pace-and-space offense to a T tonight.
The UNLV Running Rebs The Wizards got out of the gates early with nine fast-break points in the first quarter. Led by Wall, the Wizards pushed the ball for layups and open threes in first quarter. For the rest of the game, there were far fewer opportunities to push the ball. As a result, the ball was swinging from side to side opening up driving lanes, and the Wizards were making the correct pass like this one:
The Wizards scored just three transition points the rest of the way (12 total) but the driving lanes were there all night for the guards as the team finished with 36 points in the paint. Most importantly, when the Wizards did push the ball, it was under control tonight. Most of their turnovers actually came in half-court sets.
3-Point Defense: The Wizards give up an NBA-worst 41 percent from three-point range. The Grizzles came into this game 29th in the league shooting 32 percent from range; so something had to give. Lo and behold, the stats fell in favor of the Wizards as the Grizzles shot just 17 percent (3-17) from three-point range.
Rotations were crisper than usual, shooters weren't left wide open, and if only for one night; the percentages played to the Wizards' favor.
Garrett Temple continues to stay hot: Temple scored a team-high 20 points tonight. Keep in mind, Temple hadn't scored 20 points in a game in his career; he's eclipsed the 20-point mark in three straight games now. He looks confident with his stroke, gets out and can finish very well in transition, and still brings it on the defensive end. Who knows if this run will fizzle out or if Temple is turning over a new stone. In the meantime, he's in the midst of the best 3-game stretch of his career at a time when the team needs him the most.