Wizards

Quick Links

Wizards hold off Pistons behind Otto Porter's huge night, John Wall's double-double

usatsi_10357667.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Wizards hold off Pistons behind Otto Porter's huge night, John Wall's double-double

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. 

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.

[RELATED: THE FUNNY REASON FOR MCCULLOUGH'S NICKNAME]

Quick Links

5 must-see moments from Wizards' tough loss to Bucks including John Wall's circus shot

usatsi_10545623.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

5 must-see moments from Wizards' tough loss to Bucks including John Wall's circus shot

Here are the five best plays or moments from the Wizards' 104-95 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday afternoon...

1. John Wall came out swinging in the first half with 22 points, 16 of them in the first quarter alone. 

This was one of his best plays. Wall split two defenders and then flipped it in off the glass:

Wall finished with 27 points, nine assists, four rebounds, three steals and two blocks. 

2. Kelly Oubre, Jr. led the Wizards' bench with 19 points, five rebounds and a block. He missed on this play, but nearly dunked on Giannis Antetokounmpo. That would have been something:

[PODCAST: MIDSEASON AWARDS FOR MVP, BEST WIN AND MORE]

3. Oubre did get this one to go down. He popped a three at the buzzer to end the third quarter:

4. Wall had some nice passes including this alley-oop lob to Tomas Satoransky. Sato got way up there:

Satoransky also threw down this alley-oop pass earlier thrown by Bradley Beal:

5. This last play was by the Bucks and it was not something you see every day. Antetokounmpo fired an assist through his legs like a longsnapper:

The Wizards lost a close one. Now they head to Charlotte to begin a five-game road trip.

[PODCAST: BRADLEY BEAL ON HIS GROWTH AS A LEADER]

Quick Links

On MLK Day, John Wall wonders what King would think about race relations under President Trump

On MLK Day, John Wall wonders what King would think about race relations under President Trump

John Wall spoke at length over the summer about race relations in the United States following the violence in Charlottesville in August orchestrated by white supremacists.

Following the Wizards' game against the Bucks on Martin Luther King, Jr. day on Monday, Wall was asked about the subject again.

Wall does not believe improvements have made in the last few months with President Donald Trump in office and he wonders how King would react if he were alive to see the current state of America.

"I think he still wouldn't be satisfied. We're still dealing with it. I think it got better for a little period of time, but with the new president we have I think things are going backwards. We've been dealing with it the last couple of years. There are some things we still need to figure out," Wall said.

PODCAST: MIDSEASON AWARDS FOR MVP, BEST WIN AND MORE

The Wizards play on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day every year and Wizards players cherish the tradition. It is not lost on Wall that he plays in Washington, D.C. where King made his famous 'I Have A Dream' speech and led the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963.

“That’s just an honor and a blessing," Wall said.

"We are all still sticking to what he had with this dream, and we are just trying to get everything to be right with it. To be able to play in this city is an honor."

RELATED: WHO IS WINNING THE NBA MVP RACE?

Wall says he tries to embody King's dream in his own life. King helped lead the civil rights movement that paved the way for equal rights and Wall, an African-American, has much to thank for those who fought. Every American does.

Wall says he wants to make King proud.

“I just hope that he appreciates what I’m doing. I’m doing myself very well. I hope he’s thankful for what I’m doing. I’m striving to be a better African-American athlete, and just as a person first of all – I think that’s the most important thing," he said.

MORE WIZARDS: BRADLEY BEAL ON HIS GROWTH AS A LEADER