In what might have been the best home crowd all season, the Wizards got some well-deserved revenge on the Brooklyn Nets tonight in an 89-74 win that had as many Wizards highlights as Andray Blatche lowlights. John Wall was a well-oiled machine tonight as he showed off his lightning-fast speed, full-court awareness and most importantly a much-improved jumper.
The Nets attempted to make a comeback in the third quarter, but the Wizards defense held strong and fought through the entire 48 minutes. At the beginning of the season, this might have been one of the monumental “Fourth Quarter Collapse” headlines, but tonight, this was a team who was as confident as ever in their defense against a Brooklyn squad who could not find the rim to save their lives.
I flirted with giving John Wall the MVP title, but since he is the WE Spotlight of the game, I’m going to give the MVP to Nene tonight for his impressive outing (and showing up of Brook Lopez). Nene ended up with 20 points, 11 rebounds and one-and-a-half blocks on Andray Blatche.
He was a monster on the defensive end tonight as he held Brook Lopez to 3-11 shooting and four turnovers. His presence in the post was one of the main factors to how the Wizards held the Nets to 11 points in the second quarter.
On top of that, he was sinking shot after shot, going 9-13 on the night and making the Nets look like a D-league team with the ease at which his shots came.
John Wall: Wall was a Sportscenter Top 10 Highlight machine tonight. His player of choice to dish to was Trevor Ariza tonight (Ariza ended up with nine points mostly off of assists from Wall.) There was so much razzle-dazzle to his game tonight and it looked like he was trying to prove that he can be a franchise player, no matter what Van Gundy thinks. Most impressive was his jump-shot, which showed improvement tonight. Wall finished with 15 points, nine assists and four steals.
Deron Williams: Probably one of the more competitive players in the NBA, Deron Williams was not feeling it tonight. Although he ended up with 20 points, six boards and five assists, his body language is what stood out most to me. Throwing his mouthguard on the ground, slumping around, and getting crossed over by John Wall a couple of times just added to the frustration of losing to the Wizards by 15. If it wasn’t for him, this might have been one of the most embarrassing blowouts in Nets history, but his body language on the court suggested that in his mind it might have been already.
Defense. The second quarter was one of those “everything is going right” times for the Wizards. And in this kind of season, these moments are rare. The first field goal for the Nets didn’t come until after the halfway mark, and the Wizards managed to hold the Nets to 11 points in the quarter. Not only were they capitalizing off the ball, they made sure that they lit up the scoreboard, as well, scoring 30 points in the quarter. With the lineup of Wall, Singleton, Ariza, Nene and Webster, Wittman may have found the most efficient lineup to have on the court at the same time.
Jordan Crawford. He had 0 points tonight, 0 boards, 0 assists and was an absolute nonfactor on the court. Wait…that’s because Wittman didn't put him in. So for that, I put Wittman in the Bad column of tonight’s game recap. As I’ll address below, Crawford would have been a much better option than Price in that third quarter. It would have kept the tempo up, and it definitely would have allowed the Wizards to score more than 14 points in the quarter. I did not get an explanation, but you’ve got to wonder how much sweeter this game could have been with Crawford sinking his circus shots while Blatche was missing his.
A.J. Price. Everytime he stepped on the court tonight, Price just brought the game down. It’s no coincidence that he was on the court for much of the third quarter, a quarter in which the Wizards only scored 14 points and allowed the Nets to draw within eight. He was playing some selfish ball out there, and while Wittman went back to his lineup mentioned in the “Good” section in the 4th quarter, it’s scary to think about what may have happened in this game if he had let Price play for much longer. I will give Price credit for imploring the fans to boo Blatche even louder while he was at the free throw line in the garbage time in the late moments of the game.