Washington built up a 17 point lead with less than a minute left in the third quarter, fueled by strong outings from John Wall and Bradley Beal. However, a sloppy stretch from the bench to start the fourth quarter, coupled with disappointing late-game execution from Washington’s starters, allowed Memphis to make it a one-possession game in the final minute.
Thankfully for the Wizards, they were able to get the stops they needed in crunch time, and put the game on ice at the free throw line to pick up their fourth straight win and sweep the season series over Memphis.
John Wall was in complete control for three quarters
It doesn’t show in the raw numbers, but Wall had arguably his best game of the season, especially through the first three quarters. He found the right balance between attacking and getting his teammates involved, and most importantly, he didn’t settle for low-percentage shots against Memphis’ injury-depleted backcourt. He even busted out a windmill dunk:
The only thing that kept him from having a bigger night was his teammates. Other than Bradley Beal and Mike Scott, the rest of the team struggled to capitalize on the shots he created throughout the night.
In the fourth quarter he fell back into some bad habits and settled for bad shots as the Grizzlies clamped down and got back in the game, but that isn’t all on Wall. Beal also got caught up in milking the clock and trying to make hero shots that allowed Memphis to make their run.
Only time will tell if they learn from these late-game mistakes, but the way Wall managed the first three quarters was great to see and exactly the balance Washington needs to best utilize what he, Beal and Porter bring to the table. Let’s see more of that moving forward.
Markieff Morris keeps pounding the glass
It’s taken a while for Markieff Morris to find his form. Even now, he still isn’t all the way back to what he was, but over the past few games he’s gotten more effective by scaling back and focusing on what he can do well.
He snagged 17 rebounds, tying a career-high. It’s the third-straight game where he’s grabbed double-digit rebounds after not grabbing double-digit rebounds in any game this season. He’s averaging 10.5 rebounds per game over the past six games after only averaging 4.1 in his first 25 appearances.
It would be nice if he dialed it back a little more shooting the ball but that’s a complaint for another day. The important thing is that he’s finally showing some useful progress and Washington is better for it.
- Bradley Beal scored 34 points and did it fairly quiet fashion. That’s not a dig, rather it’s a testament to how good he’s gotten at taking advantage of quick-strike opportunities to score that aren’t always memorable, but add up over the course of a game.
- Otto Porter didn’t play at all in the fourth quarter. After the game Scott Brooks said it was due to his back tightening up. It will be interesting to see how the Wizards manage that injury with another game coming up on Saturday.
- John Wall casually cleared two rows of people going after a loose ball. This is not something a human being should be able to do so effortlessly.
Next up: The Wizards return home to host the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night at 8 p.m. ET.