They did it. I don’t know how, but they did. And if we’re being honest, it still doesn’t feel real. After allowing a 40 point first quarter and getting punched in the mouth by the Clippers for the second time this season, the Wizards finally responded. They showed some fight. They showed that they’re an NBA team capable of playing NBA basketball and they came back and won 125-118 on Tuesday.
Everyone poured in, but it was the backcourt, once again, that led the way. John Wall finished with 30 points, eight assists, five threes and four rebounds. Bradley Beal chipped in 27 points, seven assists, three rebounds and got to the free throw line 14 times. Tomas Satoransky chipped in 13 points off of the bench with seven rebounds, three assists and three steals. Jeff Green had 20 points off the bench, seven rebounds and three assists.
The team showed a real resilience that we hadn’t seen from them all season long. It was the effort that got them to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals last season and the same effort that kept them afloat last season despite losing Wall to injury. If they play this way for an entire game, they’re one of the best teams in the conference.
A few things.
We’ve finally got a lineup change
Scott Brooks went with Otto Porter Jr. and Kelly Oubre Jr. in the starting lineup for the first time this season. The lineup didn’t fare well to start — no one could guard Tobias Harris. Otto Porter started before Kelly Oubre took over shortly after. He still found himself with 21 points to finish the half. Wall closed the game out with the assignment and held him to just 8 points the rest of the way.
Despite the lineup getting beaten defensively, it’s still good to see. We don’t know how this will look over a larger sample this season and it’s also unclear it Thomas Bryant will continue to play with it. But at 5-11, the team had to shake things up. It’s good to see that this was the change they made.
The team is still reeling
This win doesn’t necessarily change anything but their record. There’s still some things to work on defensively — a 40-point first quarter isn’t going to cut it against the cream of the crop around the league.
The locker room after was quiet as well. Players were still visibly frustrated after the win, and a few voiced their frustration about the leak of last Thursday’s practice getting out into the media.
But winning cures most things. If they can keep this up, which is a huge if, none of this will matter moving forward.
Tomas Satoranksy is going to play going forward
We’ve all been waiting for it. It’s finally here. Straight from the coaches mouth: “I’m finding him minutes, I don’t care. I’m finding him minutes. It took me 15, 16 games to figure that out. He’s earned it. He’s playing,” Brooks said.
Here we go.