The Washington Wizards beat the Brooklyn Nets 119-113 in overtime on Saturday night. Here's analysis of what went down...
Nets made it interesting: The Wizards finally broke through on Saturday against the Brooklyn Nets, a team that is objectively no good but for some reason has given Washington serious trouble this season. The Nets won each of their first two meetings, both in Brooklyn, and the first was by 35 points. This time the Wizards took care of business.
It wasn't easy, though. The Wizards went up 25-8 in the first quarter, led by 20 at halftime and 23 at one point in the third, yet the Nets (16-27) kept fighting, perhaps drawing confidence from their previous victories.
Quincy Acy hit a game-tying three with 9.1 seconds left to force overtime. The Wizards pulled it out in the extra period thanks in part to a pair of big mid-range jumpers by John Wall in the last 40 seconds.
The Wizards' defense in the second half was quite terrible. They allowed 35 points in the third quarter and 33 in the fourth. The Nets closed the fourth on a 16-5 run.
Those points came despite the fact the Wizards switched to their small-ball lineup of Wall (23 points, 16 assists), Beal (24 points, six assists), Kelly Oubre, Jr. (16 points), Otto Porter (12 points, nine rebounds) and Markieff Morris (12 points). Usually that group, dubbed the 'Death Row line-up,' provides a boost on defense, but they couldn't get any stops and overtime was the result.
The Wizards ultimately prevailed and have now won two straight games and six of their last eight. They are 11-5 since Wall returned from injury and 25-18 on the year overall, about a 48-win pace for a full season.
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Gortat delivered: Marcin Gortat has had a lot going on these days. On Friday, he found himself embroiled in a mini-controversy stemming from comments he made to the Orlando Sentinel that he wouldn't mind playing for the Magic before his career is over. He then made a point to clear that up after the game. Saturday was Polish Heritage Night at Capital One Arena, which brought droves of Polish-Americans out and all of them were there to see him play.
Gortat came through with a big game. He hit on his first attempt, a turnaround hookshot on the baseline in the first minute, and by halftime had 11 points and eight rebounds. Gortat finished with 16 points and 13 boards.
Here was his best play, a powerful dunk assisted by Wall:
Gortat is a hero back home and Polish Heritage Night always brings extra responsibilities both before and after the game. Judging by his performance, he was able to manage it all quite well.
Oubre lit a spark: Oubre did not have his best game on Friday night against the Magic, as he shot just 4-for-12 from the field and 2-for-7 from three. That included a three pointer in the final minute with 12 seconds left on the shot clock that allowed the Magic to get an extra possession, a decision head coach Scott Brooks was not happy about.
Oubre bounced back nicely with a much more efficient game on Saturday. He hit his first four shots and ended up 5-for-6 from the field and 3-for-4 from three. He couldn't miss, as evidenced by this pull-up three to beat the buzzer at the end of the third:
Though his shooting percentage has fluctuated, Oubre's consistency scoring the ball has been impressive and a big reason why he is arguably the most improved player on the Wizards. He has now reached double figures in points 29 times in 43 appearances. That tied him for third on the Wizards this season with Porter.
Up next: The Wizards are off Sunday before hosting the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday, the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. Tipoff is at 2 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington. Remember, these teams saw each other just recently on Jan. 6 and in that game Matthew Dellavedova was ejected for pulling Beal to the ground. The rematch should be interesting.
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