Gortat blocks Josh Smith's dunk attempt
Marcin Gortat now has a sore left thumb on his non-shooting hand, but it was worth it. He challenged Josh Smith at the rim -- and won.
The game still was on the line. The Wizards (14-14) exploded in the fourth quarter to regain the lead at 101-97 with 51 seconds left at the Detroit Pistons. Nene had just missed a layup and Smith, a 6-9, 225-pound forward known for attacking the rim with authority, could've made it a one-possession game.
Gortat, who is two inches taller and 15 pounds heavier, changed that.
"I was having that frustrating night. That happens a lot of time during the regular season," said Gortat of just getting eight points and four rebounds in Monday's 106-99 victory. "I knew that I got nothing to lose. Either I'm going to go block or I'm just going to get dunked on. So i just tried to get at least one good play for the team at the end of the game to help the team win the game and when I went for the block he made a really powerful move. I blocked his shot and I guess he kind of moved me with the ball. I smacked the rim with my thumb. I just kind of bruise my nerve. I had a numb finger for a few minutes."
The block led to a fadeaway jump shot from John Wall that killed any chances of a comeback by Detroit.
"Josh is known for going hard to the rim. If he puts the ball on the floor he's not hesitating especially when he had that momentum going from the three-point line," said Gortat. "I've been in that situation when I get dunked on a few times and particularly by this guy. You always think twice. End of the day, that's my responsibility, to be a shot blocker, to be a rebounder. (Rebounding) is not really working for me recently."