Morris proved the hot hand really does exist, if you didn’t believe in it before, after he hit six 3-pointers and scored nine points in overtime to finish with a career high 28 points and nine rebounds. Oubre poured in 22 points off the bench and hit three 3-pointers himself to go with what seemed like endless “no, no, no, yes!” plays.
The Wizards were saved by two key defensive plays down the stretch on Damian Lillard. Bradley Beal scored a huge block on Lillard’s final drive to end regulation after hitting a huge three pointer to tie the game up. Otto Porter, Jr. capped off the night with a huge block on Lillard to end the night after John Wall missed two free throws that would’ve put the Wizards up three.
It wasn’t pretty — they may have played the ugliest third quarter of all time scoring just 16 points. Neither Wall or Beal could hit a shot but, somehow, they got it done. A win is a win. And they needed it, too — they travel to Oakland to face the Warriors on Wednesday.
Now, here are some observations.
We can all finally agree on Otto Porter
He played a great all-around game tonight. His numbers weren’t huge, but he was aggressive and had his hands all over the game. He scored 16 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, snatched two steals and had the game sealing block playing as the team’s power forward for most of the night after Ian Mahinmi left the game on a bad back.
Porter called his own number at times, posting up smaller guards and pushing the ball up in transition. He also led the team in minutes with 44 after playing just 24 on Saturday against the Raptors. Scott Brooks called Porter out at the end of that game and he seems to have gotten the message. Let’s hope this continues.
We may have stumbled in on something
Speaking of Otto Porter, can we get more of him as the small ball four? I hope Mahinmi is fine and everything, obviously. But seeing less of Jason Smith and more of Jeff Green at center was great and the Wizards were forced to go ultra small with Porter at power forward because of Morris’ minutes shifting up to center.
The Wizards talked a lot about doing that this offseason and during training camp, but we hadn’t seen results until now. And, I’ve got to say, I like what I see. Oubre and Porter as a forward combination serves two purposes — it gives Porter the space and matchups he needs to create opportunity for himself without the ball and it also gives Oubre a chance to play fast with Wall. Sure, the bench is a bit thinner, but that’s why you’ve got to stagger minutes for the starters. There’s a solution here, and hopefully Brooks can find it. But tonight should open a lot of doors for this team.
Wall has been incredible on defense for the third game in a row
We know Wall can be an excellent defender, but he hasn’t always been — especially over the last two years. Through three games? He’s looked like All-Defense material.
Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum combined to shoot 12-46 from the field. Lillard did most of his work off of free throws and McCollum got going late, but they were both guarded by Wall at times and couldn’t get anything off. The best part? He played 41 minutes guarding those two with not a single foul. He couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn today with his shot, but he was still a factor because of what he did defensively. If he keeps this up, the Wizards’ turnaround will be fine.