home 2016-17, Blogs, Game Coverage Quick Hits and Highlights: Wizards at Pacers

Quick Hits and Highlights: Wizards at Pacers

Wizards 111
Pacers 98

Bankers Life Fieldhouse | Indianapolis, IN

NBA Stats Box Score

For the first time since 2008, when Antwan Jamison was the team’s leading scorer, the Washington Wizards have won the game before the All-Star weekend festivities. For the 22nd straight game, the Wizards scored over 100 points (only seven other teams have done better than that in the 21st century). For the 22nd game this season, which leads the league, Washington’s starters all scored in double figures. All of this led to a 111-98 victory over the Indiana Pacers, which ensures the Wizards the season-series and playoff tiebreaker if needed.

Here are your three takeaways from Washington’s tenth road victory of the season.

With the way the game started, one would think Otto Porter was the Washington Wizard playing like he was snubbed from the All Star weekend festivities in New Orleans starting Saturday. Porter, the league’s leading three-point shooter, made his first four shots from beyond the arc and had five by the end of the first quarter. The Georgetown product went on to tie his career-high in the made three-point field goals department with six, which he has done twice previously including most recently last month at Madison Square Garden. Not only was Porter not invited to the three-point contest in the Big Easy despite 46.5 percent shooting from deep, 118 out of 254, but an argument could be made that he (along with Bradley Beal) was more deserving of the All-Star game spot over Carmelo Anthony.

With Kevin Love’s six-week injury, the argument could be made that the Washington Wizards have the best starting five in the Eastern Conference. I have said before that +/- is not the most accurate demonstration of a player’s performance on any given night but over the past three games I believe it has been spot on. Against the Pacers tonight, the starters combined for +67. Going back to the Thunder and Pacers again, the five-man unit was a combined +167 and +81. That is a whopping +315, which means the starting five has outscored their opponents by an average of 63 points in the past three games cumulatively. The reason Washington was so close to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2015 was because they were balanced; the same could be said about this team.

However, the bench still is the weakest link of this team. After the Wizards got out to a 20-6 run thanks to Sir Porter, Indiana rattled off an extended 29-17 run which came mainly when the starting five started to sub out. Trey Burke has not been great, Tomas Satoransky is still adjusting to life in the NBA as is Kelly Oubre, Jason Smith has improved immensely, and Ian Mahinmi has a lot of rust to shake off. So, the question is what does Washington do before the trade deadline? Many have suggested getting rid of Kelly Oubre and/or the 2017 first round pick to which I saw heck no! Oubre can be a stud in a few years and the 2017 draft is beyond loaded even if Washington is picking in the mid-twenties. Instead, I would look to convince Jarrett Jack to come to the Nation’s Capital as a free agent or see if teams are willing to accept a 2017 second round or 2018 first round pick for a solid wing player.

Best of the Night

Neil Dalal

Neil Dalal is a Staff Writer for Hoop District covering the Wizards. Neil grew up in Silver Spring, MD and attends the University of Maryland, College Park. Neil also covers the Washington Redskins for Breaking Burgundy and Maryland Terrapins for Testudo Times. Neil previously covered the Wizards for District Sports Page and is looking forward to bring his in-person coverage to each of the loyal Hoop District followers.

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