Jacob Raim - WashingtonWizards.com
The Wizards offense was not at its best on Wednesday night, as they lost to the 76ers in Philly, 92-84. Emeka Okafor was once again the highlight in this one, going for 15 points and 17 boards. Here are some thoughts on the game:
1. The Second Quarter
The game started off well, the Wizards shot 45%, moved the ball reasonably well and came out of it with a three-point lead. Something happened in between quarters though as the Wizards could not score in the second. They only managed 11 points, went over six minutes without a basket in the middle of the quarter and found themselves down by nine when all was said and done. The rest of the game was played basically evenly with the Wizards actually winning the second half by a point, but the damage was done. The turnovers were really what did the Wizards in as they committed 19 compared to the 76ers' 11, and Philly scored 15 points off those Wizards turnovers. Six of those turnovers were in that fateful second quarter, contributing heavily to the lack of offensive production.
2. Shooting Guard Position
Bradley Beal missed the game due to his sore wrist and Garrett Temple entered the starting lineup at the two guard position. Temple did not give much on offense as he only took two shots and scored two points in his 20 minutes. Crawford came off the bench and only scored three points on 1/5 shooting in 17 minutes. Conversely, Nick Young had 18 points at the two guard spot for the Sixers. The shooting guard spot has been the Wizards' highest scoring position this year at a tick over 21 points. Obviously not having Bradley Beal hurts significantly, but if he is going to miss any more games, Crawford or Temple has to step up and give the team some more offensive production.
3. Ariza's Production
Trevor Ariza has only managed 6.5 points per game in January after coming back from an injury at the beginning of the month. Going into the game last night, he had only managed double figures in two games in January. Last night though, he saw 28 minutes and shot the ball with confidence, shooting 4/7 from the field and 3/5 from three-point range for 12 points. Hopefully we will continue to see more games like this and a little more offensive consistency from Ariza.
4. Wall vs. Holiday
John Wall and Jrue Holiday are two of the most dynamic young point guards in the league and it was fun to watch the two of them go toe to toe. Last night, Holiday got the better of Wall, scoring 21 points on 10/22 shooting while Wall had an off night, shooting 3/12 from the field for nine points. That being said, both players possess so much speed and talent that it is exciting to think of these two players having some classic battles down the road.
5. Webster's 3rd Quarter
Martell Webster did his best to get the team back in the ballgame, exploding for 15 points on 4/6 shooting, including three baskets from long distance. This helped the Wizards get the game back to as close as two points at the start of the half before the 76ers opened up a 10-point lead by the end of the quarter. Webster didn't score in any other quarter in the game but did his best to put the team on his back when they needed somebody to get hot and carry them back into the game.
6. Too Little, Too Late
With 6:30 to go in the game, the Wizards trailed by 16 and the game seemed lost. But Washington went on a 13-2 run over the next five minutes to cut the lead to five with just under two minutes to play. They played staunch D over the stretch and showed more offensive cohesion than they had over the rest of the game. Unfortunately, it was not enough as the Sixers held off the late run.