home 2016-17, Blogs, Game Coverage Wizards Come Away With A Very Necessary Win Over Charlotte

Wizards Come Away With A Very Necessary Win Over Charlotte

Wizards 109
Hornets 99

January 23, 2017 – Spectrum Center, Charlotte, NC

NBA Stats Box Score

This was a very necessary win for the Wizards, for a few reasons. For one, the Wizards are in the midst of a 5-game stretch against critical Eastern Conference foes. After beating the Knicks at MSG a few nights ago, they suffered a gut wrencher in Detroit on a Marcus Morris buzzer beater over his brother. Last night’s game in Charlotte was crucial for the Wizards to win to not only get back on track against a conference adversary, but it was much needed to set the tone for tonight’s bout against the Celtics.

What’s also of great importance is the Wizards finding a way to fend of the pesky bees after nearly relinquishing a 15-point 3rd quarter lead. We all know how capable Charlotte is of comebacks, and Kemba Walker made all the right plays in the 3rd quarter to suggest that’d be the case again. But the Wizards, led by Kelly Oubre’s 8 points in the 4th, extended their lead to as large as 16 and refused to let up. A 109-99 win pulled them a game and a half ahead of the Hornets and a game and a half behind Atlanta.

1st quarter

This was unequivocally John Wall’s quarter. Wall opened the game for the Wizards with a tone-setting jumper, the first of FIVE en route to 13 points on 6-7 shooting. The great thing about Wall’s jump shots was that they weren’t necessarily the effect of defensive leniance by the Hornets. Most of the shots were actually contested; Wall was just feeling it.

Bradley Beal got into foul trouble just four minutes into the game, forcing him to the bench. Beal took just two shots, including a 3, and missed both, extending his 3-point missing streak to like 400 or something.

McClellan was decent. He missed both of his shots but coped fairly well with a tough defensive assignment on Nic Batum.

BREAKING: Otto Porter is a max player. Although he missed three of his four 3-point attempts in the first, Otto still finished the quarter with 9 points to go with 6 boards. As he’s done all season, Porter continued to make smart moves off the ball to put himself in position for high quality shots.

A fitting end to a great start for the Wizards: Kelly Oubre with a breakaway dunk as the quarter winds down to the final two milliseconds.

FIRST QUARTER SCORE: John Wall/Otto Porter: 22; Hornets: 22.

2nd quarter

Trey Burke vs. Ramon Sessions. Is this why you are not here!? Burke, the world’s most important backup point guard, faced his predecessor in Sessions early in the 2nd quarter and it was glorious. Sesh was hot, knocking down 3 of 4 shots including a 3. He had 9 points in the quarter.

Burke was also great. He dished a fancy behind-the back no-look pass to Gortat was especially great, and would follow up his fanciness with two more buckets.

Some beautiful ball movement from Wall out of the post, passing it cross-court to Otto in the corner who quickly swings it to Beal for his first 3 after 19 consecutive misses.

3rd quarter

The Wizards started the 3rd period poised, with Wall splashing another midrange, and then Beal manipulating the Hornets D with a dribble drive and clean dish to Morris for an open dunk:

Moments later, Beal would hit an off-balance 3 from about 28 feet out to put the Wizards up by 15.

Kemba Walker was pretty great in this quarter, willing the Hornets to keep the game competitive. His and-1 after getting whacked by Gortat started a 7-0 run to trim the Wizards lead to 8.

That 7-0 stretch was the effect of some increased feistiness from the Hornets. On one possession, they pressured the Wizards into a winding shot clock, then Cody Zeller blocked John Wall’s shot which landed the ball in Beal’s hands, who missed a 3-point prayer at the shot clock buzzer. After a hard foul by Wall on Marvin Williams, Beal then missed another long 3. Kemba capitalized again.

This Wall-Oubre-Otto connection was great. It lifted the Wizards back up by 14:

After Oubre drew a blocking foul, a call that exasperated the Hornets and their fans, it seemed as though the Hornets were unraveled again.

Butttttt…Oubre would miss both free throws, and the Hornets would capitalize with a 4-point play after Frank Kaminsky hit a 3 while Jason Smith simultaneously committed a foul away from the play. What should have been a 16-point for the Wizards was instead a 10-point one.

Sometimes Wall reverts back to his 2010 self and it’s pretty annoying. As the 3rd quarter was winding down Wall penetrated the lane and got stuck midway when he pulled up to make a pass. With no where to go, Wall forced a kick-out pass that landed right in a defender’s hands, leading to a transition bucket for Charlotte. On the ensuing possession, Wall chucked up a desparation 3 to try and quiet the arena but bricked badly.

The Wizards would finish the 3rd up just 6 points and, knowing the Hornets, would have their work cut out for them in the 4th.

4th quarter

The Hornets continued to their comeback with Hibbert muscling his way to an and-1 to cut the Wizards lead to 5.

You gotta take anything and everything this bench gives you. Trey Burke kept the Wizards afloat with a beautiful wrap-around pass to Jason Smith under the rim for an easy bucket. Then knocked down a fadeaway on the baseline with Roy Hibbert all in his face. WOWZERS.

After knocking down a corner 3 to put the Wizards up by 14, Kelly Oubre had this steal and breakaway dunk to put them up by 16:

The Wizards would refuse to relinquish their big lead again, only letting the Hornets trim the lead back down to 8 with just over a minute left. While Wall was quiet in the 4th, missing all 3 of his field goals, his 4 free throws in the final minute solidified the win for Washington.

#WizHornets in a Tweet

The Game’s Top Performer

Kelly Oubre – 8 points, 2-2 3PT in 4th quarter

After going up by as many as 15 in the 3rd quarter, the Wizards were in perfect position to botch another big lead against the Hornets. But it was Kelly Oubre’s monster stretch in the 4th quarter that helped the Wizards evade such a calamity. Oubre’s 4th quarter performance not only testifies to his development this season, but it also establishes the notion that the Wizards have more options outside of Wall, Beal and Porter to provide points late in games. All of Machine Gun Kelly’s points – save for his last 3 – came before Wall returned to the game, at which point the Wizards had a comfortable 13 point lead.

A forgettable night for..

Nic Batum.

Batum’s off night could practically be considered a vital difference in the game. While Kemba had a pretty good game with 21 points, he did so on 21 shots and 2-10 from downtown. Batum finished with just 4 points on 9 shots and missed all three of his 3’s. That gave hims no chance of picking up some of the shooting slack for the Hornets, who shot just 38% from the field as a team.

What’s next?

A heavyweight bout against the Boston Celtics at Verizon tonight. The Wizards plan on treating this game as Boston’s funeral by showing up to the arena wearing all black. Let’s see how this plays out.

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