The Washington Wizards beat the Sacramento Kings 121-115 on Monday night. Here are five observations from the game...
1. Wizards head coach Scott Brooks referred to his team's two narrow losses over the past weekend as "heartbreaking." On Monday against the Kings, they held on just barely to prevent a third.
The Wizards went up 14 in the first quarter, only to see that lead disappear in the second. They led by nine entering the fourth, but the Kings pushed back and took them down to the final minute.
A series of stops in the closing possessions and a fourth-quarter takeover by Bradley Beal made the difference. Beal had 12 of his 26 points in the final frame.
The win kept things looking somewhat decent for the Wizards in the big picture, considering the alternative would have been three straight defeats. They have now won four of their last seven and three straight at home.
If the Wizards are to have any prayer of making the playoffs, they will need to run off a bunch of wins during the next two weeks. Monday was the first of seven out of eight games at home. They are now 20-12 at Capital One Arena compared to 8-27 everywhere else.
2. Jabari Parker has his faults and on some nights more than others. But the man can flat-out score and on Monday he did in a variety of ways.
Parker is at his best when he's charging at the rim consistently and he did plenty of that against the Kings. But he also had his outside shot falling and went 3-for-5 from three.
Parker had nine points in his first 10 minutes and finished with 18. He shot 7-for-13.
Parker is the Wizards' second-most skilled offensive player behind Beal and it may not be that close. Again, he has other shortcomings, but he can completely change a game with his scoring and the Wizards seized momentum on several occasions against the Kings because Parker went off.
3. We saw some Chasson Randle for the first time in three games. His rotation spot has basically been taken by Troy Brown Jr., who has emerged as the primary back-up point guard, at least for the moment.
Randle, though, saw 14 minutes of action and was one of the first guys off the bench in the first quarter. He took Sam Dekker's spot, as Dekker didn't play at all.
It may have just been a match-up decision. The Kings have two quick guards in De'Aaron Fox and Yogi Ferrell. With Ferrell in the second unit, Randle gave the Wizards a good counter. Ferrell would be a tough assignment for Brown, who is about eight inches taller.
It is something to keep in mind as Brown continues to learn the point guard position. Though he can hold his own offensively, it appears, there are going to be some nights where adjustments need to be made due to smaller, quicker guards on the other side.
4. There was a career-first for Tomas Satoransky, his first technical foul. Late in the second quarter, Satoransky got called for a foul when Fox drove past him for an and-1 layup. Satoransky grabbed the ball and fired a baseball throw at the basket stanchion.
He was quickly whistled for the tech:https://twitter.com/HoopDistrictDC/status/1105258866911203334
Satoransky is usually very good at keeping his cool, but that one could cost him some money.
5. I'm not the first to say this, but the Kings may have a good one in Harry Giles III. First of all, the athleticism stands out. Even at 20, he's a physical force and has the quickness to get by guys his size.
He made a move against Thomas Bryant in the first half that was special for a player his size. He faked left and drove right and got to the basket with the speed of a guard.
Bryant, by the way, had one of his worst games of the season as he dealt with Giles and Willie Cauley-Stein down low. Bryant had only two points and zero rebounds.
Giles didn't have an amazing stat line or anything. He ended up with 12 points, six rebounds, and three assists. But he looks like another nice find for the Kings, who have made a habit of stacking young building blocks in recent years.
I have no idea if he's smart or has a good work ethic, but the natural tools are clearly there for him to be a good player in this league.
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