In the Wizards' 109-89 victory over the Pelicans on Tuesday night, John Wall picked up his second triple-double of the season, while Jared Dudley stifled Anthony Davis on one end of the floor and knocked down six 3's on the other. Both players turned in commendable performances versus New Orleans, and will rightfully receive praise for their efforts.
It was Marcin Gortat, however, who actually led the home team in scoring, and ended up notching his seventh double-double in his past eight games. It wasn't as flashy as Wall's far more rare triple-double or as heavily paid attention to as Dudley's defense against Davis, who dropped 59 a few days prior, but Gortat's recent uptick in performance has certainly coincided with the Wizards' improvement as of late.
"Marcin was really good," said coach Randy Wittman, who at times earlier in the season took issue with the center's production. No such qualms between the two are to be had these days, though, with the Wiz having won four of their last six, and Gortat extending his streak of 14+ points and 9+ rebound outputs to six consecutive contests.
The 32-year-old has been doing things that aren't exactly quantifiable as well. Dudley, who was open from the perimeter on many possessions against the Pelicans, credited Gortat for drawing attention away from him and affording him some easy looks.
"We use Gortat a lot to set a screen, so if they don't switch, which they didn't, I had a couple wide open ones," Dudley said following the 20-point win.
Washington is now 26-29 and set to face the Bulls in Chicago on Wednesday as they try to move themselves further into the Eastern Conference playoff picture. And if Gortat continues to play at the level he's currently at, that task becomes a lot more plausible. He's engaged, he's converting at the rim and he's willing to fight for rebounds — even with his own teammates.
"Sometimes, Gortat gets upset because I'm stealing rebounds, so I try and stay out of the way," Wall said.
Wall was joking, but he may have also passed along some sound advice for other big men around the league who are slated to face Gortat in the near future. With the way he's going, if you're not sure how to stop him, just stay out of the way.