The Washington Wizards looked like a sleepy team that did not want to play the Memphis Grizzlies on a Wednesday night in front of a sparse crowd. They were sloppy on the defensive end, which led to missed opportunities on the offensive end and John Wall picked up a technical in the opening minutes. But after some initial stumbles, Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter got the the Wizards’ offense going, accounting for 23 of the team’s 30 points in the first quarter.
At the 10:04 mark in the second quarter, with John Wall and Bradley Beal both on the bench, Jason Smith got the steal on a bad pass to Marc Gasol and ran down the court for the wide open slam.
David Fizdale immediately called a full timeout but it didn’t stop Washington’s bench from racing out to a double-digit advantage. Washington shot 53.3 percent in the first half and led the Grizzlies by as many as 19. Despite some obvious miscues, the Wizards had a 66-51 lead going into halftime.
Memphis came out in the third with a 9-1 run and cut the Wizards double-digit lead to single digits (7). After that, the Wizards traded baskets with the Grizzlies for most of the second half. Marc Gasol abused Markieff Morris and Jason Smith in the post, getting them both into foul trouble and frustrating Smith to the point he was called for a technical in the fourth quarter.
It looked like the Wizards were getting ready to pull away when Otto Porter hit a three to put the Wizards up by 12 with 5:24 left. However, the Wizards could not make shots down the stretch which allowed Mike Conley to get comfortable and lead a late charge to get it back to within two with 2:36 in the game.
But as soon as Memphis got close, John Wall drove to the basket for two out of a timeout, Otto Porter got a steal on Conley, and then Wall spun past Marc Gasol to put the Wizards back up by six in less than 40 seconds.
john wall grabbed the leash and took marc gasol for a nice walk pic.twitter.com/4PHHvGJ2zs— justin lew block (@JBlock49) January 19, 2017
Wall followed it up by hitting two big free throws to close out the game and seal the Wizards’ 13th straight win at home.
Well, at least that’s how it was supposed to work.
Washington’s defense was iffy all night long and they gave Memphis chance after chance to end their home court winning streak in the closing seconds, as they did not protect the three-point line and had back-to-back fouls called on them that gave Memphis a chance to cut the deficit to three in the closing seconds. Then, in So Wizards fashion, Beal got tangled up with two defenders after catching an inbounds pass with 7.1 seconds left and the refs called a jump ball. JaMychal Green won the tip and James Ennis had a wide open look from deep that could have forced overtime. But in very Not Wizards fashion, the shot was short and Washington held on for the win at home.
Otto Porter heats up from deep
While Memphis was putting three and four defenders on John Wall and Bradley Beal, Otto Porter was wide open in the left and right corners and hit 4 of 5 three pointers in the first quarter and 2 of 2 in the fourth.
Porter’s outside shooting was vital in this one, because the rest of the team was ice cold. The rest of the team was 2-22 (9 percent) from deep in this one.
Tony Allen slows down Bradley Beal
Coming into tonight’s contest against the Grizzlies, Bradley Beal had scored 20 points at least 24 times this season. Beal with into halftime with only 5 points on 6 shot attempts. Bradley Beal got himself going late in the third as he drove to the basket for a double-dutch dunk and yes, he stayed on the rim like a PANDA! PANDA! PANDA!
That was pretty much it for Beal in this one though. He finished with 11 points on 4 of 14 shooting and 1 of 7 from three.