For the first time in a month, the Wizards put together consecutive victories and they did it with all six of the seven rotation players scoring in double figures in Monday's 113-99 victory vs. the Sacramento Kings at Verizon Center.
Marcin Gortat had his season-high in the first half where he scored 21 of his 27 points and grabbed 12 of his season-high 16 rebounds. John Wall had 11 of his career-high 19 assists in the first half to go with 12 points and four steals.
Garrett Temple followed up a career-high 21 points with 23. Ramon Sessions and Kris Humphries had 15 points off the bench and Jared Dudley dropped in 13 in front of 15,124.
The Wizards led 84-76 with 2:43 left in the third quarter but allowed the Kings (11-17) to tie it at 84. Three-pointers from Dudley and Humphries sparked an 8-0 run to begin the fourth and they never looked back.
DeMarcus Cousins was outplayed by Gortat on both ends, finishing with 22 points and eight rebounds. Rudy Gay scored 16.
The Wizards (12-14) shot 42 of 83 from the field, 50.6%, including 14 of 24 from three (58.3%) which was a season-high makes from distance. They also had just 11 turnovers as they held an opponent to less than 100 points for the first time in 11 games.
- Gortat's position defense on Cousins was nothing short of superb. He banged with him on the low block for position and went straight up on challenges to force miss after miss. Cousins missed 14 of 22 shots while Gortat had four blocks. But what Gortat did was every bit as good as a block, which isn't necessarily reflective of defense. Off a turnover by Wall, Gortat ran the length of the floor and came close to rejecting Darren Collison. He beat Cousins, who has a tendency to not defend when his offense isn't going well, down the floor repeatedly and that was a strategy the Wizards knew they'd use going into the game. The only knock on Gortat in this one was when the Kings started to double-team him on the catch, he held the ball too long rather than kicking it back out and reposting to put pressure on the defense to adjust by rotating. It led to a turnover and a few forced, low-percentage shots.
- Slowly, Humphries is starting to look more like his old self coming off the bench. He played an efficient 17 minutes. He made all three of his three-point shots that came in the rhythm of the offense. In his last three games, Humphries is 10-for-18 shooting.
- Temple made consecutive jumpers, the second one a three-pointer, to put the Wizards ahead 73-65 midway through the third quarter after they were struggling to find offense. Make or miss, Temple's stroke has looked good for most of the season. He had a career-high 21 in the previous game and shot 8-for-17 in this one. Defenses are giving him clean looks and he's making them pay. He was 5 of 10 on threes. Likewise, Kelly Oubre is proving to be a reliable three-point shooter from the corners. He's 4-for-4 from the left corner in the last two games. He had eight points for the second game in a row and six rebounds. This will eventually open up the lanes for Wall to get to the basket easier.
- Is pace-and-space still going to be used as an excuse for when the Wizards don't play well? They put up 109 on the Charlotte Hornets, a much better team than the Kings, with an eight-man rotation. With one fewer body, they posted 113 on the Kings and in both held these opponents to an average of 41% shooting. This is about hustle, getting to the ground to grab those 50-50 balls like Temple did to deny Marco Belinelli a shot. The Wizards are in top shape and can handle the pace. It worked in wins vs. the Cavs, Heat and Spurs. It has to stop being used as a crutch when they lose or don't play well.
- Coach Randy Wittman didn't replace Gary Neal (lower back) in his rotation with another player. Neal was a late scratch just before tipoff. Instead he shortened what had been an eight-man rotation to seven. Oubre's four fouls by the third quarter made it challenging but it worked. Ryan Hollins didn't play again. DeJuan Blair entered for the last 38 seconds.