After laying out a stinker against the Miami Heat, the Wizards came back into Washington with a strong performance to take down the New Orleans Pelicans and cool off Anthony Davis.
Davis did have 20 rebounds in the game, but he finished with just nine points despite averaging a shade over 46 points per game over his last two since coming out of the All-Star break.
The Wizards got a particularly strong performance from Marcin Gortat who finished the game with 21 points, 11 rebounds and 2 blocks. Gortat guarded Davis throughout the game and did a great job of keeping him away from the rim and easy looks.
The Wizards took a 54-51 lead into the second half, but they held the Pelicans scoreless for nearly the first five minutes of the third quarter. Meanwhile, the Wizards connected on 5-8 three pointers in the quarter. Dudley connected on three himself and really fueled the Wizards' charge into the fourth quarter.
The Pelicans never could muster up enough of a positive stretch to find themselves back in the game like they did in the second quarter. The Wizards were clicking on all cylinders despite John Wall's poor shooting performance and occasional defensive lapses.
Wall finished the game with 16 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists but did not really come on until the second half. The guard play left a lot to be desired tonight, but the Wizards still managed to dominate on the defensive end and held the Pelicans under 90 points.
This is an encouraging sign with the Wizards having another game tomorrow night. They needed this win as bad as ever and will come out on the positive side from the first five games after the All-Star break.
Here's what we've learned about the team.
Gortat is playing better and better
Gortat has left a lot to be desired this year, but it is time to give credit where credit is due. He locked down Anthony Davis in this one and still managed to put up a 20-10 double double. That's great stuff, and when he's playing well the Wizards are playing well.
In his last five games. Gortat is averaging 17.2 points per game and 10.6 rebounds per game on 60 percent shooting from the field. If he can keep this play up, the Wizards' run into the playoffs may very well be likely.
Guard play is important, but not everything
So long as the Wizards are sound defensively and keep the ball moving on the offensive end, they can manage to have awful nights from their guards like they did tonight but still dominate the game. John Wall finished the game with a triple double, but he had 17 shots and only made six of them.
Beal was 3-10 from the field off of the bench and only scored nine points. These are the two key cogs for the Wizards' offense, but the Wizards still managed to have a great offensive game. That's because they had 29 assists and just 14 turnovers. Only three of those came from Wall and many of them were dead ball turnovers.
The Wizards didn't get a great game from their guards tonight and still won, but they're not going to be able to play like that against the Bulls and get away with it. Let's hope we see a better outing from Wall and Beal tomorrow coupled with great play from everyone else.