On a night where the Wizards’ mascot, G-Wiz, was celebrating his birthday, it turned out to be the best party I had ever attended.
The one thing I didn’t know was that the festivities were being thrown by Martell Webster, and despite the numerous attempts by Michael Beasley and his entourage from Phoenix to crash the party, Webster just wasn’t allowing it. His seven 3-pointers were the factors.
Fueled by a spectacular 2nd and 3rd quarter in which they totaled 75 points, the Wizards went on to obliterate the Phoenix Suns with a 127-105 victory. The win was Washington’s third straight and serves as a great momentum booster heading into a 4-game road trip beginning Monday.
G-Wiz’s birthday extraveganza also featured a surprise guest appearance from Bradley Beal, who was cleared just minutes before tip-off. In his first night back after sitting out the last seven games, Beal made the most of his 21 minutes, scoring 13 points on 3-for-4 shooting from downtown. After the game, Beal admitted his frustration for the lack of minutes, but also stated that the primary purpose of him playing was more to see how his ankle will feel the day after.
By the way, I’m trying to recall the last time the Wizards scored 60+ points in EACH half of a game. But it really doesn’t matter, because they sure achieved that feat last night. And while the Wizards' offense was collectively dominant all night, let me offer some praise to John Wall, who beautifully orchestrated the entire demonstration. Wall was simply remarkable, finishing with 17 points to go with his 11 assists. The Suns rarely had an answer for Wall, as he countered their fast break attacks with one of his own, utilizing his unhumanlike speed which left the Goran Dragic and the rest of the Suns dumbfounded. He found his teammates right where he wanted, either to convert a basket or lead to the next pass that eventually would.
Coach Wittman couldn’t have put it in better terms during his post-game presser: “Martell had one of those nights where he could’ve thrown it off the roof and it would’ve gone in tonight.”
Wittman also stated that after a few buckets by Webster, he started to draw plays for him to pour in more. And clearly, Webster executed. The Wizards displayed wonderful ball movement all throughout the night, and plenty of it resulted in Webster taking the long distance shot. Finally, at one moment after he knocked down a 3, he ran down the court shrugging his shoulders MJ style. Even he had no idea what had become of him that evening.
Martell Webster: All season long I’ve touted Martell as the best free agent pickup from last summer. He’s clearly having the best season of his career and it’s drawn a ton of interest from him to stay in DC.
“I’m having an extraordinary time. The city is great, the fans are great, my teammates are awesome,” Webster stated after the game. That’s pretty refreshing to hear, especially after the monster performance against Phoenix. Now let's get 'er done, Ernie and Ted!
Goran Dragic: Dragic had a fair outing. He managed 11 assists and never turned the ball over, but was simply overwhelmed in trying to contain a monster of a matchup in John Wall. Wall had his way offensively while defended by Dragic, finding his teammates for buckets, jetting by Dragic on the fast break and simply achieved a much better statline overall. Didn’t mean for this to turn into a John Wall segment, but I guess that’s what happens when he faces...Goran Dragic.
When the team pours in 127 points but only one player finishes with more than 17 points, it’s pretty certain there was a good dose of shared contribution. The factors to this are simple, not only did the Wizards have six different players in double figures, they also dished the ball 30 times. And again, the facilitator of this acclaimed performance was none other than John Wall. While Webster owned the spotlight for the night, Wall was his man behind the curtain.
And it was also great, SO great to see Bradley Beal back on the floor. His last-minute decision to give it a go was an extremely pleasant surprise for all of Wizards Nation. And while the Wizards staff smartly limited Beal’s minutes in his first game back since rolling on his ankle, Bradley was very impressive in his meager 20 minutes of burn. It was almost disrespectful the way he rubbed it in our face how much we missed his range. “Watergate” had undoubtedly reconvened at the Verizon Center as Beal splashed three of his four 3-point attempts, scoring 13 points for the game.
All of this couldn’t have come at a better time for the Wiz Kids, as they get ready for their 4-game road trip, starting in Charlotte, before heading out west at Phoenix, L.A. and Golden State.
I know we’ve all regurgitated the disappointment of a slow start to the season, but sometimes it gets harder to swallow the better these guys play. Besides the late game collapse versus the Cavs last week, the Wizards have dominated their recent opponents, with their average margin of victory for their last 4 wins being 15 points. They’ve been winning with ease, but it’s such a shame they’re not winning for a playoff spot.
As bad as the Suns have been this season, they’re a pretty feisty group out there. Maybe a little too feisty, earning themselves 3 technical fouls in the first half. According to our baseline photographer, Joe Glorioso, the game was a bit verbally chippy, as Jermaine O’neal, Trevor Booker and Wall were all heard jawing back and forth at each other. Beasley was also T’d up for his animated reaction following his dunk on Nene, giving us a celebratory "goddamn" and an arm gesture. The Wizards will face the Suns in just a few days out in the desert, so it will be interesting to see if any of the in-game tension will carry over...perhaps an argument between Beasley and Cartier over who has the best 90s-style cornrows.