The Washington Wizards have had a tough season, to say the least. Injuries have really begun to take their toll. We know about John Wall but now Bradley Beal has also been sidelined. Add on to that Thomas Bryant, Davis Bertans, and Rui Hachimura and its not much left. However, what is left is a Wizards bench that has stepped up and kept the Wizards afloat in the East.
Wizards shock the Nuggets
The 24-10 Denver Nuggets rolled into the Nation’s Capital with the second-best record in the Western Conference. Bradley Beal was ruled out and you would assume this would be an easy win. However, Ish Smith had other ideas. The guard came off the bench to score a career-high 32 points along with 8 assists to help lead the upset 128-114.
Also off the bench, Troy Brown Jr poured in 25 points and 14 rebounds. The Wizards bench combined for 92 points. The 92 points are the most bench points scored in a game since 1977. On the other end, Jamal Murray led the Nuggets with 39 but it wasn’t enough.
Down goes Boston
After taking down the Nuggets the Celtics came to town for the final game of the homestand. The Wizards bench stepped up again in this one. Smith again stole the show off the bench. He scored 27 points leading the way to a 99-94 victory.
The starters produced more help in this one as Jordan McRae scored 19 points and playing against his former team Isaiah Thomas scored 17 points in 23 minutes. The win is the Wizards 12th of the season and it came against a 25-9 Celtics squad that is second in the Eastern Conference.
Three frustrating losses
Of the six home games, the Wizards went 3-3 but the three losses were all frustrating. The first was a 107-100 loss to the New York Knicks. A game where Julius Randle put up 30 points and 16 rebounds the Wizards simply had no answers for the former Laker. The next two losses were blowouts to Orlando and Portland. In the Blazers game, Thomas was ejected 88 seconds in for pushing a ref which was a devastating blow for an already thin team. Damien Lillard paced the Blazers with 35 points as they cruised to a 122-103 win. The Magic led by as many as 25 on their way to a 122-101 victory.
A step in the right direction
This homestand was certainly a step in the right direction. Despite the injuries, this team has remained competitive and fun to watch. The 115 points scored per game is second only to the 31-6 Milwaukee Bucks. The team was also able to blowout the Miami Heat 123-105 during the homestand. If this team can get healthy they are only 4.5 games out of the eighth seed. A run still is possible.
The week ahead
The Wizards will head back on the road on Wednesday when they will visit the Orlando Magic. This season Orlando is 3-0 against the Wizards. To close out the week the Wizards return to DC on Friday to host Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks before taking on the Utah Jazz on Sunday afternoon at home.
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