(Photo Courtesy ~ Ned Dishman)
As well as Jordan Crawford played (scoring 27 points on only 16 shots), it was the performance of newly acquired point guard Garrett Temple that steered the Wizards to their fourth victory of the season. Despite playing only his second game with the team, Temple looked really comfortable facilitating the Wizards offense and coach Wittman certainly observed that early on. Temple played at total of 35 minutes, efficiently scoring 13 points with six assists and six rebounds. Touted as a defensive specialist, GT made it a point defensively not to back down from Jameer Nelson after Nelson's surging start. His excellent court vision gives him the ability to make the timely passes, his patience with the ball allows his teammates to get set in the right spots to make a play, and oh, the man can knock down a jumper if needed. Temple certainly gives the Wizards a breath of stability in the backcourt and seems to be a great fit as we close in on the return of John Wall.
Jameer Nelson: Nelson came out the gates gunning, hitting three consecutive 3's and a fourth just a few minutes later. He had 14 in the first quarter. And that was that. Garrett Temple had seen enough and with some proper adjustments, Nelson had seen his last 3 of the game, missing all of his remaining attempts. Nelson scored just 2 points after his dominant first quarter, thanks to Temple.
Bradley Beal: Beal struggled again from the floor, missing eight of his 12 attempts, finishing with 11 points. But the flashes of stardom remain as she showed some hops on both ends of the floor, flying up for an alley oop on one play and soaring for a block in front of the rim on another.
Plenty of content to populate this segment, but the biggest buzz around the team following this win was the Wizards' ability to hold on and secure the win. Countless times we've witnessed the Wizards fall behind big, fight back to make the game interesting, then make just the amount of wrong plays to lose. Well, it certainly seemed like that was going to be the usual song and dance for the Wiz Kids last night, until the song scratched into a heavy Dubstep remix in which the Wizards not only erased a 17 point first quarter deficit, but surged to take a 13 point lead in the third, refused to allow the Magic to pull closer than a four point deficit, and eventually won by eight. All was swell in Chinatown for Wizards fans, who are rarely exposed to their team's potential. Nene earned a double double, Jordan Crawford was "making shots" (his answer to almost every post-game question he was asked), Kevin was swelling his shoulder in the post backing down his defender, and of course, we already know how special Temple was.
Not a whole lot to say in this segment when the Wizards win simply because they do the things they normally do wrong, right. But I do get curious over the whereabouts of Chris Singleton sometimes. Not sure if it's just the shuffling of Wittman's rotations that keep Chris out, or if in fact he is in the team's doghouse, but the fact is the man has only attained six minutes of burn over the course of the last three games. *Shrugs*
The starts. They have to get better. There's an issue when the surprise of the night was the Wizards ability to erase the big early lead and hold on because the fact of the matter is, they usually don't. Trailing 25-8 barely halfway into the first quarter and you can feel the "oh this going to be another long night" vibe. The Magic took advantage of the Wizards' inability to fight through screens and popped three after three, taking a double digit lead before fans were even able to unwrap the tight foil from around their hot dogs. I won't reach into this too much, considering the deficit was overcome and well, let's just let this rare victory soak in for another hour or two before Chicago.