By Dave Johnson
When the Washington Wizards allowed the Los Angeles Clippers to go on a15-2 run in the third quarter there was reason to doubt the home team. When the Wizards scored 14 points off eight Clippers’ turnovers in the fourth quarter there was reason for the home fans to celebrate a 98-90 win.
Here is today’s Wizards Report:
The Wizards prevailed through the rough spots by sharing the ball and turning to their defense. Martell Webster led five Wizards in double figures with 21 points on a night when the team finished with 27 assists. On defense the Wizards had 11 steals and forced the Clippers into 20 turnovers that led to 24 Wizards points.
“It wasn’t the prettiest but we’ll take it, definitely. Coming back off the road, I thought this was an important game for us to get to start this three game home stand here before the break. It wasn’t all artistic for us. We still had ups and downs from an offensive standpoint when we just stopped passing, dribbled, no movement. You get in trouble with that. We got to continue to work on that, learn from that. The first half I thought we moved it really good, 51 against this team, I think they are fourth in the league in total defense.”
After scoring 51 points in the first half, the Wizards stumbled in the third quarter when they lost a 12-point lead. The Clippers 15-2 run allowed them to take a 61-60 lead with 5:23 left in the third quarter. It was the Clippers first lead since early in the first quarter at 7-6. To the Wizards credit they closed the quarter on a 12-5 run to take a six-point lead into the fourth quarter.
The Wizards can empathize with the Clippers. The Wizards are still dealing with injuries as Bradley Beal remained sidelined for a third consecutive game with a sore right wrist. As expected the Clippers played their eighth straight game without Chris Paul because of a sore right kneecap and right before tip-off Blake Griffin was scratched because of a hamstring injury.
The Wizards way:
The Wizards do not have a dominate scorer. There is not one player that can carry this team. Several players have to be involved in the scoring. To go with Webster’s 21 points, Nene and Garrett Temple each had 15 points. Temple’s offensive production was an added bonus for a player known more for his defense. John Wall had 13 points and 8 assists, and Trevor Ariza added 10 points and 6 rebounds. Ariza’s work on defense was also critical in the win.
Solid as an oak:
Emeka Okafor was one point away from a double-double. Okafor finished with 9 points and 14 rebounds and his work on the boards helped the Wizards to a 21-8 advantage in second chance points.
Final word from Martell Webster:
“It’s unfortunate that teams have injuries, but that happens and we as a team still have to take care of business. Everyone contributed offensively and defensively, this was a team effort. This is a game of runs, it’s tough to be perfect for 48 minutes and with an explosive team like the Clippers it made it harder. Tonight as a team we carried out our assignment and kept the defensive mindset throughout the game. Ultimately we were able to regain control of the game and never let them take control.”