The Washington Wizards beat the Detroit Pistons 115-111 on Friday night at Capital One Arena. Here's analysis of what went down...
How it happened: Part of what the Wizards need from Otto Porter now that he has received a max contract is more on the offensive end, the more-than-occasional game where he takes pressure off of John Wall and Bradley Beal with a convincing offensive effort. They got just that in a win over the Pistons on Friday night.
While the team struggled mightily on defense early, Porter helped keep them in it with 20 points in the first half. He shot 9-for-13 from the field and didn't hit one three-pointer. Porter kept it going with six points in the third quarter and ended up with 28 on the night.
The Pistons had their way on offense throughout the first half. They led 65-58 and shot 55.1 percent. Despite shooting 63.2 percent themselves, the Wizards trailed by seven after two quarters.
Washington led 91-81 after three after holding Detroit to 16 in the third and saw that lead grow to 15 with a 7-2 run to begin the fourth. That push was keyed by mostly bench players after they struggled to maintain momentum in the first half. Once they started to lose grip and let the Pistons cut the lead to 98-90 with 8:19 remaining, Scott Brooks called a timeout and brought the starters back in. That didn't exactly stop the bleeding, as an Avery Bradley three locked the game at 102-102 with five minutes left.
Detroit kept answering the bell when the Wizards would make a push. Rookie Luke Kennard (11 points), the 13th overall pick out of Duke, was impressive off their bench. Andre Drummond grabbed 12 rebounds, but fouled out with 9:15 left in the fourth. Tobias Harris (15 points, three rebounds) didn't recreate his monster season-opener, but was effective nonetheless.
Beal helped close out the win with a pivotal and-1 layup with 2:06 left. He was challenged by Jon Leuer at the rim, but got it to go in off the glass. That put the Wizards up 111-106. Wall then secured the victory with a block on Reggie Jackson with 14 seconds left. Jackson charged the lane and Wall swatted it away with his left hand.
Wall (27 points, 10 assists, two blocks) had his first double-double of the season despite committing seven turnovers. Beal dropped 24 points to go along with four assists and four boards. Marcin Gortat had an average night compared to his season-opener with 10 points and eight rebounds.
The Wizards moved to 2-0 on the year with two wins against teams that could be in the Eastern Conference playoff picture come April.
What it means: The Wizards took care of business with two wins at home before they head west. That may end up looking very important in hindsight.
Smith sidelined: Jason Smith was held out with a sprained right shoulder. Kelly Oubre, Jr. got the start in his place and got the game started with a steal and dunk on the other end for the Wizards' first points. Overall, Oubre didn't make nearly the impact he did in the season opener. He finished with four points and six rebounds in 35 minutes.
Wall put on a show: Wall's numbers may look modest by his standards, but he was lighting up the highlight reel on both ends of the floor. He crossed up Jackson for a nasty stepback jumper in the first quarter. In the second quarter he blocked Harris, who is a power forward. How many point guards can do that, like, in the history of the game? Not many.
yoooooooooooo John Wall is a point guard and just stuffed Tobias Harris, a power forward. pic.twitter.com/Amsb7KLzg2— NBC Sports Wizards (@NBCSWizards) October 21, 2017
Wall also had this beautiful layup on the fastbreak:
Bench a mixed bag: The Wizards were starting to take control in the third quarter when backup shooting guard Jodie Meeks helped them grow their lead. He had six points in the third and came out with an early three in the fourth. He finished with nine points in 15 minutes. The bench, however, had another uneven night. Tim Frazier went scoreless for the second straight game, but did dish four assists.
Up next: The Wizards have the weekend off before heading out on a very early West Coast trip. They see the upstart Denver Nuggets first on Monday night. That one tips off at 9 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.
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