Tonight’s Wizards MVP is Nene, who played an excellent game off the bench for Washington. In 24 minutes of play, Nene posted 20 points on 8-10 shooting and pulled down two rebounds.
On a night where Washington was clearly offensively challenged, it would have been nice to have Nene on the floor for longer stretches.
Jordan Crawford: On the night following his triple double against the Hawks, Crawford came out strong in tonight’s game, hitting 15 first half points, including three first quarter 3-pointers. Crawford showed solid shot selection throughout the first half, nicely filling the scoring void left with Beal’s absence from the game.
The second half would prove to be the antithesis, however, as Crawford struggled with missed shots and turnovers, managing only two additional points.
Crawford would finish the game with 17 points (7-16 from the floor), 4 rebounds, and 6 assists.
Aaron Afflalo: Aaron Afflalo had a relatively quiet game, mostly overshadowed by the strong play of Orlando’s bench.
What he lacked in field goal percentage (33% from the floor), however, he made up for with a key baseline runner with 1:35 remaining in the game. Afflalo’s basket gave the Magic a six point lead, which they’d hold for the remainder of the game.
Afflalo’s final line was 15 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists.
The play of Nene and Cartier Martin gave the Wizards the offensive boost they needed to keep the game close. Martin had 11 points off the bench, including a couple fourth quarter baskets that brought the Magic lead to within 5 points.
Both Nene and Martin took advantage of minutes in relief of starters that were ineffective.
The Wizards, as the season has dictated, struggled with defending the perimeter. They allowed Orlando’s JJ Redick and E’Twaun Moore to combine for 32 points off the bench, including 8-11 from three point range. All night, the Wizards failed to rotate defensively, often leaving them on the receiving end of wide open shots from the Magic.
Inside the arc, the Wizards failed to take advantage of their superior size and experience, allowing Nikola Vucevic (8 points, 13 rebounds) and Glen Davis (12 points, 9 rebounds) to control the paint.
The Wizards would be outrebounded by the Magic 48-38.
In his first start of the season, Earl Barron was very ineffective, managing just 2 points on 1-6 from the floor. To compound his poor first half shooting, Barron picked up several fouls and was forced to sit close to the 8 minute mark in the third quarter. This would be a very disappointing night after a nice 14 rebound effort against the Hawks the night before.
Also disappointing was Kevin Seraphin, who continues to look out of sync. Seraphin managed only 6 points in 23 minutes of play, taking a series of ill-advised turnaround jumpers. At one point in play, he was clearly yelled at by both Nene and Coach Randy Wittman for being out of position.
Seraphin must find his stride soon. The Wizards cannot afford to have him flounder time while Nene’s minutes are capped.