Every time out, it seems the Wizards are logging their best win of the season. Sunday, it was 117-110 vs. the L.A. Clippers in front of 17,380 at Verizon Center.
The Wizards, thin behind Marcin Gortat in the post and missing two backups to injury as well as their best wing defender in Kelly Oubre (concussion), battled back from a seven-point deficit late in the fourth quarter to secure their first three-game winning streak.
They’ve beaten the Milwaukee Bucks, Charlotte Hornets and Detroit Pistons in the last week.
Bradley Beal (41 points) led the way and John Wall focused on defense setting the table (18 points, 11 assists, 5 rebounds). Markieff Morris (23 points, 9 rebounds) had his best game of the season and Gortat (9 points, 7 rebounds) was crucial for what took place defensively in a difficult matchup with an elite pick-and-roll team.
Blake Griffin (26 points, 7 assists, 7 rebounds) led the Clippers followed by J.J. Redick (17 points), Mo Speights (14 points), Austin Rivers (13 points) and Chris Paul (13 points, 12 assists).
--Gortat tied the score at 95 with a jumper and Wall and Beal returned with 7:16 left in the game. But after Rivers’ three the deficit grew to 102-95 almost put the game away.
-- The Clippers gambled off Morris, figuring they could get away with Rivers defending him at times in the post, and he made them pay. Conversely, the Wizards gambled off Griffin and gave him mid-range looks that he cashed in. Morris nailed an open jumper at 1:41 to give the Wizards a 112-108 lead.
-- Beal had his fifth game of 30 points or more this year. In his previous four seasons, he had a total of four.
--Wall’s ball pressure did the job on Paul and Jamal Crawford. And he had reliable help from his bigs, Morris and Gortat, as did Beal on pick-and-rolls.
--The Clippers went on a 10-2 run coming out of halftime and appeared on the verge of blowing it open. Beal, however, wouldn’t let them as he responded to every basket with one of his own. Beal had 18 points in the third when the Wizards were able to tie it briefly before trailing 87-85 going into the fourth.
-- Morris picked up his fourth foul at 8:49 of the third quarter defending Griffin. He had two questionable whistles go against him in the first half and opted to not respond to get a technical. Brooks stuck with Morris who was part of the run to get the deficit down to 73-71 midway through the third.
-- Andrew Nicholson played seven minutes in the first half and had his only field goal with an and-1 move to draw contact on Jordan, but he wasn’t able to keep up with the pace or quickness. He was too small for the likes of Speights and Jordan and not quick enough for Griffin.
--Daniel Ochefu played his first real minutes of the season, entering at 3:15 of the first quarter when Gortat picked up his second foul. With so few bigs available because Jason Smith (right hamstring) and Ian Mahinmi (right knee) were out. It forced him into action but he played sparingly.
--Wall’s layup with 1:18 left in the third, a reverse that cut the deficit to 83-82, was followed by his technical foul of the season as he appeared to say something to Paul. Paul lobbied for a whistle and got one from official Mike Callahan.