WASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards beat the Charlotte Hornets 125-118 on Friday night at Capital One Arena. Here are five takeaways from what went down...
1. Some nights, no matter how bad their defense is, the Wizards are going to score so many points that their opponent simply can't keep up. Friday night's win over the Hornets was one of those games.
The Wizards, for the most part, gave little resistance on the defensive end, allowing Charlotte to score 118 points and shoot 51.6 percent from the field. But the Wizards also found open looks from three and free lanes to the basket, as they scored 125 points and shot 14-for-34 (41.2%) from three.
The Hornets were forced to play Washington's style and they couldn't do it for fourth quarters. After scoring 96 points through three, they were held to 22 points in the fourth.
The Wizards are now 5-8 on the season, having won two straight for the first time.
2. Every time Davis Bertans plays like he did on Friday night, it becomes more amazing that the Spurs gave him up in a trade and that they did so for a prospect who was likely to never play for the Wizards.
Bertans is an absolutely sensational outside shooter. He had 15 points in the first half on 5-for-7 from three-point range. Somehow, that was one off his career-high of five, which shows how underused he was in San Antonio.
Bertans ended up with 20 points and six threes (tying a career-high) as he continues to lead an improved offensive attack for the Wizards. But it's not just his shooting that stands out. Bertans is an all-around player who can get up and down the floor and has some tricky no-look passes in his arsenal.
3. This season has not started how Jordan McRae envisioned it would go, as early on he suffered a painful break of the bone on the end of his right ring finger. Though he is back and playing rotation minutes, he has to deal with a splint which requires an adjustment as it is on his shooting hand.
Against the Hornets, though, he had his best play of the season so far. McRae zipped through the lane to rise up and throw down a poster dunk on Marvin Williams. McRae ended up with a modest 13 points, but the dunk was a good sign he is getting used to the splint, as he had to use that hand to finish with power.
This play brings up an interesting question: is McRae the best dunker on the Wizards? As fun as they are to watch, they don't really have a high-flying dunker like the did last year with Kelly Oubre Jr. and Tomas Satoransky. For dunking entertainment, McRae might be the guy.
4. Head coach Scott Brooks said something very interesting at Thursday's practice when asked a question about Troy Brown Jr.'s defense. Brooks threw a line in that was unprompted, how "he's been given a starting job and who knows if that stays the same."
That induced a strong reaction from Wizards fans, who clamored for Brooks to play Brown more last season. But it's Brooks' call and that indicated Brown's job in the starting lineup isn't entirely secure.
Friday's game may not have helped Brown's cause. He had an uneven performance that included some impressive moments, but also some head-scratching ones. In the first half, he had a really nice drive where he split the defense and finished through contact with a mid-air second effort. But he also had some turnovers, including one where the ball was deflected off his knee on a drive and another where he threw an ill-advised pass to Rui Hachimura that was easily intercepted.
It's hard to tell how much patience Brooks will show Brown, as he does have veteran C.J. Miles waiting in the wings. Perhaps to Brown's credit, however, it hasn't persuaded him from playing with confidence or from taking chances on the court.
Brown finished with four points and six rebounds in 20 minutes.
5. It is very hard to make All-NBA on a team that misses the playoffs and extremely difficult to do so on a team that wins fewer than 30 games. You basically have to win a scoring title like Tracy McGrady did for the Magic back in the 2003-04 season or have seasons like DeMarcus Cousins did in Sacramento where he was averaging around 25 points and 11 rebounds.
Bradley Beal, though, may be able to add his name to that list if he keeps it up because he is putting up some elite scoring numbers while also racking up more assists than he ever has before. Beal had 30 points and 12 assists on Friday night and is now averaging 30.3 and 7.1 in those categories for the year. Assuming the shooting percentages are solid, it could be tough for voters to keep Beal off their All-NBA ballots, even if the Wizards only win 25 or so games.
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