Jacob Raim - WashingtonWizards.com
The Wizards got some revenge on the Nets after falling in double overtime the last time these two teams met. The win meant the Wizards completed a sweep of the home stand, all against teams with winning records. Here are some thoughts on the game:
1. Home Cooking
The Wizards have become a dominant home squad in the year 2013. They've now won eight out of nine games at home since that double overtime loss to the Nets, with only a slip up against Sacramento in the loss column. The Wizards won three straight games, all against teams that were at least nine games over .500 at the time of the game. This is the first time in franchise history that the Wizards have put together such a winning streak. Over the eight wins out of nine at home, six of those wins were against winning teams, and six of them were by double digits. The Verizon Center has certainly been treating the Wizards well.
2. That Second Quarter Magic
Only a short time ago, the Wizards scored just 30 points over three second quarters on a road trip to Philadelphia, Memphis and San Antonio. Last night, the second quarter might have been the Wizards' best quarter of the season. They won the quarter 30-11, at one point going on a 19-1 run. In terms of points allowed, it was tied for the second best defensive quarter of the season for the Wizards. Through the first half of the quarter, the Nets scored just a single point. It was the lowest scoring second quarter for the Nets this season. The Wizards led by just one at the end of the first quarter but put together a simply dominating second quarter to put the Nets away.
3. Defense! Defense!
The Wizards defense came to play last night as they held the Nets to one of their worst offensive nights of the season. Nene did a great job playing physical with the red-hot Brook Lopez. The Wizards' bigs held Lopez to just 13 points on 3/11 shooting. Washington held Brooklyn to 32.9 percent from the field, Brooklyn's lowest percentage of the year. The Nets 74 points total was also only one point more than their lowest total of the year. The Wizards forced the Nets to take a lot of bad shots and did not let them get any easy points. They were very active in the passing lanes, forcing the Nets into 15 turnovers. The Nets' bench also only managed 13 points in the contest. On the whole, it was a very impressive defensive effort against one of the NBA's better offensive teams.
Over the last couple of games, this seems to be Wittman's favorite lineup. It is small at the four with Singleton, but big everywhere else and very long. This unique defensive look forced the Knicks and Nets over the last two games into playing a different offensive style than they might have wanted to. On the offensive end, with only one true big man, it spreads the floor for Wall to attack and find open men or feed Nene in the post in one-on-one situations, where he can be very effective. Last night, these five guys were the Wizards' five best in the +/- category, with three of them finishing at +15 or above. The rotation will have to adapt as Beal moves his way back into the starting lineup but this is an interesting look for Wittman to go to.
5. Nene's Inside Presence
Nene's scoring touch has been back in a pretty big way as of late. After January only saw him average 11.6 per game, February has been a completely different story with him averaging 14.6 a game on over 50 percent shooting. Last night he scored 20 on 9/13 shooting in a dominant offensive effort. Everything was working for him as he attacked the basket with force, and when the Nets gave him some space, his mid-range game was spot on. Nene's presence inside makes everything easier for the rest of the offense.