- Tip Off: 7:30 PM PT
- Television: CSN-BA
Washington Wizards Team Profile
- Offensive Efficiency: 97.5 (last in NBA)
- Defensive Efficiency: 99.9 (7th in NBA)
- Points: John Wall, 16.0 PPG
- Rebounds: Emeka Okafor, 8.9 RPB
- Assists: John Wall, 7.7 APG
- Steals: John Wall, 1.4 SPG
- Blocks: Emeka Okafor, 1.1 BPG
- Field Goal Percentage: Emeka Okafor, 48.5% FG
- 3-Point Field Goal Percentage: Martell Webster, 44.9% 3PT FG
Scope the Opposition: Truth About It.
Preview: The Washington Wizards (25-43) literally stole a game from the Los Angeles Lakers (36-34) last night.
The Purple and Gold led the contest throughout most of the night and even had an 18-point lead at one point in the game but ultimately fell before the Wizards at Staples Center.
Given the respective records and the Lakers’ talent, many might view this as an upset of biblical proportions. But that’s not quite the case.
John Wall missed a huge chunk of the season, which invariably had a substantial effect on the team and its offense.
Since February 1st, the Wizards have won 14-of-24 contests and looked like a competent basketball team. No longer is this a team full of a gunners, instead we are treated to a club that looks like it could have contended for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference had Wall been healthy all season.
Since early of February, Washington is scoring 102.1 points per 100 possessions according to NBA.com’s advanced stats tool. During that stretch, that would rank them 19th in offensive efficiency, one spot behind the Golden State Warriors (39-31).
Their rating on this side of the ball is obviously mediocre, but it exceeds their overall ranking for the totality of the season, which is dead last in the league.
Combine the improved offense with one of the stingiest defenses in the NBA and that’s a recipe capable of producing a fair amount of wins.
Last night’s game is a good indicator of how far this team has come since the start of the season. After trailing by double digits, Washington rallied and made a game of it late despite the absences of Bradley Beal (left ankle sprain) and Emeka Okafor (flu).
Wall directed his team and produced four points and three assists in the final five minutes of the contest. He was masterful at anticipating the Lakers’ defensive rotations and consistently fed the player in position to take advantage of Mike D’Antoni’s scheme.
On the other side of the ball, Trevor Ariza locked arms with Kobe Bryant and forced the superstar into some key misses. Some of the shots the Black Mamba missed were relatively easy by his standards, but Ariza contested every single look and forced Bryant to miss 6-of-9 shots in the game’s final five minutes.
The Wizards closed the game out with good play on both ends of the floor.
Consequently, it’s important that Golden State doesn’t get caught up in Washington’s record.
Wall and company tend to play with speed (especially in transition) and marry that with brute interior play.
Should make for a compelling matchup.
Statistical support provided by NBA.com.
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