After losing 92-88 and 94-87, Washington destroyed the Hornets 95-69 on Monday, at least momentarily restoring faith in the team.
The Wiz have now won three out of their past five games (look, it's something, alright?) and have held their opponents to 97 or fewer points in each of their past seven games. The defense has been strong as of late, but the offense keeps offensing at times (see: Otto Porter Jr. shooting 4-for-10 in 23 minutes), but this was a great one to watch for Washington fans.
Plus, Porter and Temple combined to do this, which definitely wasn't great.
(Vine via Hoop District)
Here's what he learned tonight
This is a completely different team with Bradley Beal on the floor
I'm not saying anything new here, but the Hornets game really drove this point home. Beal missed Saturday's game with more stress fracture problems in his leg, and returned Monday.
In 31 minutes tonight, he shot 7-of-16 from the floor and scored 14 points.
The highlight of his night was this strip of Lance Stephenson that turned into an easy layup.
(Vine via Hoop District)
For the season, with Beal on the floor, Washington's offensive rating improves by over six points, their effective field-goal percentage goes up by 4.6 percent and their steal percentage increased by 1.7 percent, according to Basketball-Reference.com.
In a blowout win, Randy Wittman probably played Beal for too long. It's time to start conserving him and taking it easy with his legs. Come playoff team, Beal has to be healthy if the Wizards want any chance of winning a series.
The second unit is still underperforming
Drew Gooden was 1-for-5 tonight. Porter's box score is much friendlier to his play Monday. Ramon Sessions had three assists in 19 minutes. Garrett Temple was 0-for-3 in 19 minutes.
While Kevin Seraphin had a solid game, the second unit still has a long way to go. Even when the Wizards were up by a large margin, the Hornets were still able to go on an 8-0 run in the second half, and they were able to make it a 10-point lead at halftime.
Washington has had a serious problem this season of protecting leads, and the bench is a big reason why.
Sessions is still a liability on defense, and in his past three games, Porter has shot a combined 8-for-23 from the floor. Yikes.
Gooden is fine in certain situations, but getting Kris Humphries back will also be huge for the defense.
Even if the Wizards build up a 20-point lead, nothing makes me feel comfortable about them holding it.
Gortat was peak Gortat
This was the best version of Marcin Gortat we'll likely see this season.
In 28 minutes, he shot 9-for-11 from the floor and finished the game with 20 points, seven rebounds and two steals.
More importantly, he worked well on Al Jefferson the entire night. Jefferson did have 14 points, but Gortat did a great job of boxing him out tonight.
Jefferson finished the game with just five rebounds in 29 minutes after grabbing double-digit boards in three of his past five games.
Gortat now has seven or more rebounds in each of his past seven games, and is shooting 64.3 percent from the floor this month already. You go, Polish Machine/Hammer.