Wizards 107, Grizzlies 94: Instant analysis

Wizards 107, Grizzlies 94: Instant analysis
March 25, 2013, 8:15 pm
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Missing five players, including three starters and their top sixth man, the Wizards put away the Memphis Grizzlies at Verizon Center on Monday night. It was their first victory vs. Memphis since 2010 and sixth in a row at home. 

Player of the game: PG John Wall shot 13-for-22 from the field and 19-for-24 from the foul line for a career-high 43 points. He also had eight assists, seven rebounds and just two turnovers. He scored 26 points in the first half, surpassing his previous mark of 25 in a half as a rookie in 2010. 

The rundown: The Wizards (26-44) opened with a 15-6 lead behind Wall’s offense. He made 4 of his first 5 shots, all jumpers, and C Emeka Okafor completed a three-point play. Fs Jan Vesely, Cartier Martin and C Kevin Seraphin entered to spell the starters and the lead whittled. Memphis (47-23) closed with a 10-4 run led by Gs Mike Conley and Jerryd Bayless to end the first quarter to trim the deficit to 26-24. Three-pointers from Fs Austin Daye and Quincy Pondexter sparked the Grizzlies to a 39-30 lead midway through the second quarter, but the Wizards closed the half strong to tie it at 55 with Wall contributing in 16 points. Despite opening the third with five turnovers and failing to get their first field goal until 6:48, the Grizzlies only trailed 76-74 entering the fourth. The Grizzlies battled from a double-digit deficit to get it down to 96-92 near the two-minute mark. But Okafor hit a pair of free throws and a jump shot at the foul line to give Washington the cushion it needed. Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins and PF Zach Randolph received technical fouls that led to free throws. 

Turning point: Wall broke it open midway through the fourth, hitting a pair of free throws and feeding Martin twice for three-point baskets to push the lead to 91-81 with six minutes remaining.

No-goes: PF Nene (knee) and SF Martell Webster (abdomen) joined SG Bradley Beal (ankle), SF Trevor Ariza (flu) and A.J. Price (groin) on the sideline. That meant more playing time for Vesely, who registered 18 minutes but only two points and four rebounds. 

Inside force: With Okafor not having to face 7-footer Marc Gasol (abdominal tear), he was able to maneuver well in the paint for 21 points 9-for-15 shooting and nine rebounds. Okafor only played 23 minutes in his previous outing as he was coming off a bout with the flu. He played 31 Monday. 

Smart move: The home crowd was worked into a lather over Wall as he made a three-pointer with 46 seconds left. That put him at 47 points. Despite the standing ovation and occasional chants of "MVP," Wall refused to take another three-point shot just to reach 50. He dribbled out the clock. 

Who’s next: Wednesday at Oklahoma City Thunder (52-19). Beat the Portland Trail Blazers 103-83 behind 24 points and 10 rebounds from Kevin Durant on Sunday. 

 

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