The Wizards, especially offensively, bounced back from a rough outing in Denver Tuesday night to get a much-needed win on the road against the Suns.
Bradley Beal got back on track with another 30-point night, the bench was terrific led by Ish Smith and Washington made a ton of great plays in crunch time.
Here are the top takeaways from their win in the desert.
A polar-opposite night from three
The Wizards shot 1-16 from three in the first half and 10-40 for the game Tuesday night in Denver. The warm weather must do this team wonders because they shot a blistering 11-16 from three in the first half and 19-35 overall in Phoenix.
It's too bad the Wizards couldn't shoot like this against the Nuggets, but you'll take it when you can get it, right?
The hope here is that the Wizards can find a level of stability from deep. If they're either ice cold or as hot as can be back there, it'll be hard to get any sort of rhythm on offense or defense.
We'll see what happens to their shooting when they get to LA and go up against two of the best defenses in the league. If ball pressure is the key to stopping the Wizards defense, teams will catch on eventually and the Wizards won't win many more games this year.
Davis Bertans is the Wizards' second-best player
The main question surrounding this team heading into the season was who would be the Wizards' next-best player after Bradley Beal.
Some guessed Thomas Bryant, others suggested Rui Hachimura, but I'm here to tell you it's Davis Bertans. The stats don't really back up my point, so this is purely an eye-test take.
The way Bertans stretches the floor and can hit about every three you can think of. Whether it's a trailer, coming off a screen or pulling it off the bounce, Bertans' skill from the outside is more advanced than any other player's individual skill on this team outside of Beal. That's not it. Under Scott Brooks, Bertans has flashed an impressive amount of aptitude as a ball handler. You can put him in pick and roll situations, and he can create plays when he gets run off the three-point line.
This is where this might get important for the Wizards right now. They're most likely missing the playoffs, and if the losses start to pile up before the trade deadline, they should try to sell high on the 27-year-old forward.
His contract is up after this season, and at the rate he's currently playing, contending teams will probably give up at least one first round pick to get him. For the Wizards, gaining assets before losing free agents for nothing should be one of their priorities.
Isaiah Thomas is pressing
After the loss in Denver a night ago, Thomas called it one of the worst games of his career. He's still finding his feel on the court and it'll take time, but it was clear Thomas was forcing the issue a bit too much in this game.
Instead of looking for his shot every trip down and in every pick and roll he's in, Thomas probably needs to play within the flow of the offense and let the game come to him. He's too good a player to be kept silent for long.
He definitely deserves credit though for hitting a clutch three with the shot clock running down late in the fourth. The Wizards had nothing cooking on that play and Thomas bailed them out, which is what great players do.
Patience is key with Thomas this season. He missed basically a full year because of hip surgery, it'll take time for him to get fully comfortable out there. Once we get past Christmas, I'd expect Thomas to start turning it up a notch in terms of production.
Ish Smith makes winning plays
For the Wizards' other undersized point guard, Ish Smith was exceptional Wednesday night, especially down the stretch of the game.
He finished with 21 points on 8-11 shooting and made multiple winning plays to keep the Wizards in the lead when the Suns were making a late-game push. It's hard to ask young players to continue to make big plays in crunch time when the defense is leaking buckets to the opponent.
Vets like Smith can help settle everyone down and put pressure on the other team with his quickness and savvy with the ball.
This was the game the Wizards needed to win
Entering Tuesday at 5-10 and a two-game LA swing coming up this weekend, the Wizards needed to beat the Suns to avoid a disastrous west coast trip.
They weren't exactly set up for success from the beginning with three of four games coming against the best teams in the west, but if you're Washington, you could not afford to come home 5-13.
By grabbing a win, the Wizards can play more freely in LA and worry more about giving those two elite groups a tough matchup than needing a win to stay afloat.
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