(Photo courtesy of Wizards Extreme/Joe Glorioso)
It’s really tough to just pick one MVP from last night’s game because you could probably give it to at least three or four different guys. With that said, I’m going to have to give it to Emeka Okafor with strong considerations going to Bradley Beal. Okafor easily had his best game as a Washington Wizard and set the tone early on for Washington’s inside presence. He also played extremely well on the defensive end of the floor and made it difficult for Orlando to get dribble penetration to the basket. He was truly a force in the paint for this Wizards team tonight and deserves every bit of credit he receives from me tonight. He also ran the floor really well and aided Washington in the fast break department where they outscored Orlando 29-4. Washington’s uptempo “run and gun” style of play really seemed to affect Orlando’s ability to set a tempo for themselves on the defensive end.
Bradley Beal: In a match up that would be heavily dictated by the play of each team’s back court, the young rookie continued his stellar and consistent play for the surging Wizards. He finished with 17 points, shot 7-10 from the field including 3-4 from behind the arc and finished with the most minutes played in the game for his team. Beal’s great play is extremely impressive given the fact that as a rookie, he doesn’t seem to be hitting the proverbial “wall” that a lot of people refer to but instead, the only “Wall” he’s seeing is the beautiful passes he’s getting from his leader ;)
Jameer Nelson: Even though he finished tied for the game high in points with 19, he was seemingly a non-factor in the second half. For what it’s worth, Nelson had a great second quarter. He and the Magic cut Washington’s 19 point second quarter lead to six by scoring 14 of his 19 points in the quarter in attempt to will Orlando to a furious comeback. Wizards fans had that familiar “uh oh” feeling in their stomachs as Orlando surged behind Nelson’s shooting, passing and play making abilities. But after only scoring five points in the second half, it was evident that on this night, the better team prevailed.
The Washington Wizards offensive tempo. From the beginning of the game on, it was evident that Washington was going to be aggressive and attack Orlando. All you have to do is look at the fast break points. Washington out scored Orlando 29-4 in that department and seemingly pushed the ball up the court with relative ease. If they were getting easy baskets in the paint with Seraphin and Okafor, other guys were stepping up and hitting open shots. As Randy Wittman so eloquantly stated in his press conference, “that was beautiful basketball.” Indeed it was. Constant ball movement, great tempo and the Wizards never let Orlando get in to a groove defensively.
Feels great to fill out these last two categories with nothing Wizards related. Tonight, The Orlando Magic can gladly fill my content. Arron Afflalo, you sir were tonight’s “bad.” 37 minutes played for only two points on 1-11 from the field? YIKES. What did you do? Who did you guard? I don’t think anyone noticed him on the court at all tonight. Minus the minutes, that’s a stat line that usually mirrors that of Jan Vesely. Usually.
This is an easy one. Ish Smith. Not the player persay, but his ankles. May they rest in peace because John Wall murdered them. If there was ever a defining “I’m Baaaaaaack” moment in Wall’s early NBA come back, it was that vicious cross over that left Smith filing a missing person’s report for his shorts after the third quarter. I don’t even think I need to say much else, I’ll just let this amazing gif by our friends over at www.truthaboutit.net do the talking for me.