November 29, 2022
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Wizards take advantage of injured Grizzlies, win fourth straight

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WASHINGTON — The Washington Wizards beat the Memphis Grizzlies 102-92 on Sunday night at Capital One Arena. Here are five takeaways from what went down…

Took advantage

While the Wizards may have caught the Memphis Grizzlies, one of the NBA’s best teams, at a good time due to the fact both Ja Morant and Desmond Bane were out due to injury, Washington knows all too well how that type of situation can take a turn for the worse. This season they can already count losses to the Joel Embiid-less Sixers and the Nets, sans Kyrie Irving. The Grizzlies also have a deep roster of players who have given them trouble in the past.

On Sunday, however, the Wizards took care of business and did what they were expected to; beat a depleted team on their home court. The Wizards pulled away in the fourth quarter and have now won four straight, pushing their record to 8-6 through 14 games.

The Wizards, it should be mentioned, were also without a very good player, as Bradley Beal missed his 5th straight game. To their credit, they are now 4-1 without him.

The Wizards going streaking is worth a reminder of a crazy stat about the franchise. Their longest win streak ever is nine games, which is tied with the Magic for the shortest record streak of any NBA organization.

Porzingis is ridiculous

Kristaps Porzingis followed up a 31-point performance against the Jazz on Saturday with another gem against the Grizzlies on Sunday. Playing the same team that held him to a season-low 10 points one week ago, he caught fire in the second quarter with 15 points in the frame, including four threes. One of those was a buzzer-beater to end the 1st half. It was a beauty.

 

After missing Thursday’s game against the Mavericks with a groin injury, Porzingis has somehow looked especially mobile the last two games. Against the Jazz, he had two blocks where he trailed much smaller players through the lane and to the rim. In this one, he jumped a passing lane to steal the ball from Tyus Jones, then used a Eurostep to score on the fastbreak. Porzingis is a specimen and he’s been at his best this weekend. He had 25 points in the game on 7-for-15 shooting overall and 6-for-10 from three, plus six rebounds and two blocks.

All of the threes

The Wizards are all of a sudden a very dangerous team from the perimeter. They tied a season-high with 12 threes on Thursday vs. Dallas, then set a new mark against the Jazz on Saturday with 16 and on Sunday they raised the bar once again with 19 threes against the Grizzlies. That tied their most threes in a game since March of 2020, so pre-pandemic. They made 11 threes in the first half alone after entering the day averaging 9.7 per game on the season.

Porzingis led the way with six threes. Deni Avdija had four threes, Jordan Goodwin made three and Corey Kispert had two. Goodwin is now 6-for-7 from three going back to last game and he’s looked very comfortable letting them fly. That’s noteworthy because outside shooting has traditionally not been his game. He wasn’t much of a 3-point shooter in college or in the G-League. But Goodwin continues to surprise and in the last few days it has involved his perimeter shooting.

Deni was on

It wasn’t just the threes Avdija made, he was finding ways to score from all over the court. It’s been a trend for him lately, as he came into this game coming off his first two double-digit scoring nights of the season so far. He took it to another level on Sunday, though, as Avdija tied a career-high with 21 points. Avdija shot efficiently, too, going 8-for-16 from the field and 4-for-7 from three.

Avdija has been more aggressive lately and that was especially the case against the Grizzlies. He had a lot of plays that worked out for him and a few that didn’t, where he gambled on passes that didn’t go as planned. But his confidence never seemed to waver, he kept it up even after the mistakes. That could represent some growth for Avdija, a young player still searching for consistency at the NBA level.

Beal back soon?

This was Beal’s second consecutive game missed since exiting health and safety protocols. The Wizards have kept him out a few more days so he can get back into game shape after missing time and being sick. On both Saturday and Sunday he went through an extensive workout on the court before the Wizards’ games to continue that process.

 

Head coach Wes Unseld Jr. indicated before Sunday’s game that it is likely Beal returns for the Wizards’ next game. They host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday as they continue a six-game homestand. The Wizards have now won four straight games without Beal, so they will hope it’s a seamless transition and they can keep it rolling once he rejoins the team.





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