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Turning The Tables: Wizards Finish Strong Against Nets; Earn Rare Road Victory

Wizards 118
Nets 113

November 30, 2016 – Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY

NBA Stats Box Score

Leading by just two points heading into the 4th quarter, the Wizards found themselves in familiar terrain last night in Brooklyn. Only this time, they were the ones trying to climb out of the dark well of large deficits, having previously trailed by 15 at the halfway mark.

The Wizards had been accustomed to taking second half naps (they are a whopping -60 during that span), an imperfection that’d cost them at least three winnable games, including their two previous road losses in Oklahoma City and San Antonio.

But the team finally turned the tables – on themselves – against the Nets last night, picking up the pieces after the atrocious ending of the first half and outscoring the Nets in the second half by 20. The Wizards also turned the tables on themselves by actually winning away from home. Their success in BK last night marked just their second road win in seven games.

What was really fascinating about the Wizards being able to hold their ground and not relinquish their lead was the lineup of players that allowed them to do so. The Wizards opened up the 4th with Trey Burke, Marcus Thornton and Jason Smith on the floor, usually a recipe for something you’ll start to cook but decide toss out halfway. But last night was different. Thornton had his share of face-palm triggering plays, but he also had 5 points in the 4th quarter along with a crucial block and a steal to go with it. Jason Smith was also impressive in how he defended Brook Lopez in the low post. Smith held fort and remained vertical going up against Lopez in tough-nosed fashion to keep him away from the rim. The reserves were able to maintain a one-point lead before Wall and Beal returned to the floor with just under 8 minutes to go in regulation.

What was also key for the Wizards’ late-game success was their perimeter defense and being able to restrict the Nets from firing up an ample number of 3’s. The Nets are among the best in the league in 3-point makes and attempts (they made 10+ three’s for the 14th straight game!), however in the 4th they were limited to just four attempts, and making just one.

#WizNets in a Tweet

I mean, I guess there were some boring moments in the game last night..

The Game’s Top Performer

Markieff Morris – 12 points, 4 steals in the 3rd quarter

Wall’s 23 and 13 was great. Gortat’s 10 and 12 was efficient. Porter continues to be a gem. Beal hit shots. But Markieff’s 3rd quarter performance made a huge – perhaps the biggest – difference in the game. he Nets are awful, and showed every ounce of that awfulness during the 3rd quarter as the Wizards mounted a comeback from a 15-point deficit. It was Kieff who made sure they paid their price. Normally a very unreliable defender, and quite often a godawful defender, Kieff’s unprecedented awareness to capitalize on opponent miscues was a pleasant sight, and the main reason why the Wizards were able to erase their big deficit.

A forgettable night for..

Andrew Nicholson.

Although not really. Nicholson played just 7 minutes, missed both of his shot attempts, had 0 points and still earned a $74,390 game check.

Key Stat of the Night

The Wizards are always a tough match when they force turnovers and minimize their own. Last night in Brooklyn, they forced 22 turnovers while committing only 9. This factored into their 22 fast break points.

Quick Hits

• Gortat matching up against Lopez wasn’t as frightening as I imagined it could have been. With Lopez’s 3-point numbers spiking this season, the question was how well Gortat would be able to defend him on the perimeter. I imagined it was going to be bad when Lopez found himself in the corner for his first 3 within moments after the opening tip, leaving Gortat helplessly standing about 10 feet away from him near the basket. But Lopez only attempted four 3’s on the night, and instead found success against Gortat in the post, working him with spin moves and hook shots. Brook finished with a game-high 25 points.

• Marcus Thornton actually ended up having a decent outing, tallying 11 points on 2-5 shooting from downtown and 2 steals. He had a good sequence of plays in the 2nd quarter when he hustled for an offensive rebound, ends up hitting a 3 on the same possession, gets a steal on the next defensive possession which lead to points in transition. But of course, Marcus gon Thornton at some point in the game, right? After another good defensive play getting a steal, Thornton did this (with help from Bradley Beal):

Choice Highlights

There were some really bad 6-12 team versus 5-14 team moments in last night’s game, naturally. Here is one of them:

Nets announcer Ian Eagle coined this Marcin Gortat slam a “foreign facial”

John Wall’s visual acuity on the floor is under-appreciated.

John Wall patiently waits for Markieff Morris to lose his defender on a backdoor cut for a wide open dunk.

John Wall feelin’ himself.

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