There must have been a full moon in Minnesota Tuesday night.
At several points in the game, Washington looked dead in the water. But they continued to claw back behind the extraordinary play from Otto Porter to beat the Timberwolves, 92-89.
Otto Porter scored a game-high 22 points for Washington followed by Kelly Oubre Jr. with 16 off the bench. Mike Scott and Jodie Meeks added 12 points a piece as Washington’s bench combined for a season-high 49 points to help the team snap their two-game losing skid.
Otto Porter comes through in the clutch
Scott Brooks has caught heat for the lack of plays run for Otto Porter. Well, tonight, he went to Otto not once, but twice in crunch time and Porter came through for the Wizards.
First, Brooks ran a play to get Porter isolated on the block and he converted a tough layup with 55 seconds to play. The next time down the court, Otto found the ball in his hands near the right elbow to bury the jump shot and give Washington a 91-89 lead.
As a fan base, we’ve been screaming for Brooks to call Otto’s number down the stretch of games. He did so tonight, twice; and it paid off.
It’s time for Kelly Oubre to replace Markieff Morris in the starting lineup
This has been looming for a while but the stench was all too obvious tonight. From the get-go, Washington looked slower and inferior athletically, specifically at the power forward and center positions. And this is becoming a common theme night after night.
Markieff Morris is no longer on a minutes restriction so one can assume that he’s healthy. It’s unclear as to why he’s starting over Kelly Oubre as Oubre has proven to be the better player so far this season.
Oubre came in and was instant offense off the bench this evening with 16 points. Morris, on the other hand, was missing open shots, committed silly turnovers, and was no match for Taj Gibson or worse, Karl-Anthony Towns when switched onto either of them.
It’s hard to be competitive in today’s NBA if you don’t have athletic and interchangeable players in the 1-4 positions, and tonight was a prime example.
The bench provides a huge spark in the first half
In what was probably their best collective effort for a half, the bench outscored the starters 25-18 at the midway point of this game (yes, you read that correctly).
After starting the game 4 of 16 from the field, the bench sparked a run for the Wizards connecting on 10 of their next 16 field goals to regain the lead 34-32 early in the second quarter. Scott Brooks opted to go with the much-criticized all-bench lineup in the first half and it paid off as they outplayed the starters (and it wasn’t really close if we’re going to be honest).
Kelly Oubre was the first player off the Washington sideline and was in attack mode early on as he was able to navigate through the paint for some easy baskets.
Jodie Meeks, who has been less than stellar so far this year, maybe, just maybe, broke through as he scored nine points in the first half knocking down his first three three-pointers (4 of 6 overall). Meeks has had open looks this season but they hadn’t been falling, that wasn’t the case in the first half.
Meeks’ hot streak was key to Washington’s 16-2 extended run from the first quarter into the second quarter to keep the Wizards in this one.
- Bradley Beal was held under 20 points for the first time in seven games.
- Don’t look now but the #FreeSato movement is catching momentum. Sato actually received six more minutes of playing time than Frazier.
- Three of Washington’s starters – Frazier, Morris, and Gortat did not play in the fourth quarter.
- Ian Mahinmi played well tonight. Seriously.
- The key to the bench’s great play? They were in sync all night.
Next up: The Wizards are back in action Wednesday as they take on the 76ers in a rematch of the season opener, but this time, they’ll be in Philadelphia.