The Washington Wizards have had the look of a playoff contender in recent weeks, but their performance today could be an indication that the future is bright at Washington.
The Wizards hosted LeBron James and the Miami Heat at the Verizon Center, and while many expected the Heat to cruise, it turns out that the Wizards were the ones who controlled the game and shocked Miami with a huge 114-97 win in front of their fans.
The Wizards were helped by a strong scoring output like they have never seen this season, scoring 43 points in a first quarter that ended with Washington leading by 25 points after the first 12 minutes. The gap became shorter and shorter after each quarter, but the Wizards never let go of the lead and they were timely on offense and solid on the defensive side where they contained James with relative ease.
‘King’ James only made eight of his 18 shots and despite the fact that the filled the stat sheet quite nicely – 25 points, eight rebounds and seven assists – he was never comfortable. The same thing could be said about Dwyane Wade – only eight points and four shots in 11 attempts – and Ray Allen, who ended the game scoreless.
Washington, on the other hand, had a balanced scoring output where seven players scored on double-digits. John Wall led the way with 25 points and the whole team was firing on all cylinders, shooting almost 55 percent from the field and 45 percent from beyond the arc.
It was truly a strong performance on both ends of the court for the Wizards as they showed – once again – that they can compete with any team in the Eastern Conference. If they can develop some sort of consistency with their playing, they could pull a few upsets down the stretch.