WASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards beat the Detroit Pistons 106-100 on Martin Luther King Jr. Day at Capital One Arena. Here are five takeaways from what went down...
1. After beating Nuggets and Celtics despite missing half their roster due to injuries not that long ago, logic would suggest the Wizards could take it up a notch and maybe start winning more consistently once they got healthy. It took a few games, but they got one on Monday against the Pistons.
The Wizards ran away in the fourth quarter to snap a three-game losing streak and beat Detroit for the third time this season. They closed the season series between the teams with a 3-1 record.
Ian Mahinmi helped lead the way offensively, because of course he did. Mahinmi had 21 points, shot 9-for-10 and added seven rebounds, three steals, two blocks and he made a three-pointer. That was all in 23 minutes, which is just absurd.
He even got a standing ovation from Wizards fans when he fouled out in the fourth quarter, and it's not the first time that has happened this season. What a time to be alive.
The Wizards opened the second half of the season with a victory and now stand 14-28 on the year.
2. Bradley Beal might be close to fully back. Though this was his fourth game since returning from injury, the first three saw him play on a minutes limit and they featured some uneven shooting performances.
On Monday, though, he played 34 minutes, close to his season average of 35.5. And he poured in 29 points on 10-for-21 shooting with six assists.
Beal also made some history. In the third quarter, Beal passed Wes Unseld to move into fourth place for career points on the Wizards/Bullets all-time list. The only three ahead of him are Elvin Hayes, Jeff Malone and John Wall.
If he continues his usual pace, Beal should pass Wall by the end of the season and could overtake Malone not long after. All of this is a reminder that Beal is already one of the best players in franchise history. If he sticks around, as he has indicated he will by signing a contract extension, he will likely have his jersey up in the rafters someday.
3. Beal's backup, Jordan McRae, played in this one just two days after suffering what appeared at the time to be a serious ankle injury. The fact McRae was even able to practice on Sunday was surprising.
McRae was solid, at times providing his usual spark on offense. He had seven points and eight rebounds in 25 minutes.
Garrison Mathews appeared to get lucky with his own ankle injury earlier this month and McRae really dodged a bullet. It goes to show that it's tough to gauge the severity of an injury when they happen. Some times it's much worse than we realize, but often times it's not nearly as bad as it looks.
4. It looks like the experiment with Thomas Bryant playing power forward alongside Mahinmi may be over with. Head coach Scott Brooks rolled with that combo in his starting lineup for back-to-back games before putting Bryant back on the bench.
Isaac Bonga ended up getting the start instead of Bryant, who played a lot of backup center. Maybe it had something to do with Andre Drummond being on the Pistons, but the Wizards had been outscored by 16 points on average in their previous three games and a change was warranted.
Complicating matters already was the fact Bryant is on a minutes restriction. Brooks is dealing with three players on minutes limits in Bryant, Beal and Davis Bertans. Bryant has been on the most strict at between 15 and 20 minutes a night. Brooks admitted before Monday's game that it's a difficult task building a rotation with all of those factors.
Back to Drummond. Watching him compete against the Wizards amid trade rumors brings up the obvious question of whether he would fit in Washington. It was a topic of conversation among Wizards and Pistons beat writers before the game.
On one hand, Drummond would help the Wizards with one of their biggest weaknesses, which is rebounding. And he would technically be the best third piece Beal and Wall have ever played with. But I'd have to lean no due to the money he will likely make on his next contract (he's a free agent this summer) because the Wizards can't afford to overpay anyone, or pay big money to a good but not great player, with Wall's money on the books.
They are likely better off waiting for a better player becoming available in trade talks, someone more multi-dimensional.
5. McRae was in, but Anzejs Pasecniks was out with a sprained left ankle. That is a new injury for Pasecniks, which he apparently sustained on Sunday at practice.
The Wizards have enough depth now with their roster mostly healthy to compensate. And with the players they now have, Pasecniks wouldn't play much anyways.
But it's still something to monitor, as he could be useful as a backup center as long as Moe Wagner remains out with his ankle issue.
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