The game tonight at MSG 2.0/Verizon Center/The Phone Booth was bittersweet for Wizard fans. Bitter because the home arena was taken over by the opposing team - AGAIN - and Knicks fans out-screamed Wizard fans for the majority of the game. It was sweet because the Wizards knocked off another one of the NBA's elite teams - AGAIN - and by the end of the game those same rabid Knick fans were eerily quiet.
The Wizards are becoming the type of team that nobody wants to face. As cliche as it sounds, they look like a team that finally trusts and believes in each other. Any long suffering Wizards fan knows that home court advantage hasn't been much of an advantage in recent history. But the 'Zards have won seven out of eight at home and are a completely different team with John Wall at the helm.
John Wall gets the MVP even though he had a relatively tough night. He had six turnovers, struggled with his jump shot for most of the game, and got his ankles broke by a Raymond Felton crossover. What earned him the MVP was how he responded to his struggles. After the Felton crossover, John was visibly upset and began to attack the rim. What sealed the deal was his play in the 4th quarter. Wall put in nine of his 21 points and two of his nine assists in the quarter. For a team that has struggled all season to close out games, the Wizards look like they’ve finally got their closer back.
Martell Webster: Webster began the game looking as if he was in for a career night. He came out of the gate scorching, hitting his first four shots, three of which were from behind the arc. He also went 2-2 from the line for good measure. His 1st quarter box score looked lovely. Then Randy Witman got in his way. After having his best quarter of the year, Webster didn’t see the court until 4:32 left in the 2nd. Needless to say, Webster cooled off for the rest game, although did he hit the “DAGGER” shot to put the game away.
Carmelo Anthony: The multitude of Knicks fans in attendance chanted MVP when he touched the ball and he looked every bit the MVP for most of the game. There was nothing out of the ordinary, Melo was Melo. He pulled down rebounds (9). He scored his points (31). And he was his usual high volume shooting self, taking 23 shots. Unfortuantely forhim, it just wasn’t enough against these scorching WizKids.
The 4th quarter. This was the best 4th quarter the Wizards played all year. The Wizards went into the period down three with the momentum shifting to the Knicks. Trevor Ariza opened the quarter with a four point play to take a 74-73 lead and the Wizards never trailed again. They went on to score 36 points with Chris Singleton, Trevor Ariza, and Wall all scoring nine points each in the period. All season long Wizard fans have bemoaned the absence of a closer, but John Wall definitely got his Mo Rivera on tonight.
Whatever Jordan Crawford did to get into Randy Witman’s doghouse. He is so far down the bench that he’s sitting in Jan Vesely’s seat. Jordan only played six minutes tonight which is one more minute than he played in the last game against the Clippers. Steez’s loss is the other Wizards players' gain and the beneficiary of the minutes grab tonight was Chris Singleton. Singleton played 22 minutes tonight. He also had 16 and 20 minutes in the two previous games. He had 24 minutes of floor time in the ENTIRE MONTH OF JANUARY. This uptick in minutes for Chris is directly correlated to Jordan Crawford somehow pissing off Witman.
The faces of the Knicks fans as they left the Verizon Center wondering what the hell just happened. On second thought that was a beautiful sight.