Wittman: I couldn't be more proud of a group of guys
Seriously, how do we explain this? The storyline had owners of the NBA's best record visiting the league's cellar dwellers - I believe you're familiar with the latter's resume. Thanks to 19-year-old Bradley Beal's composed game-winner and two four-point plays, the Wizards flipped the script and for once received the fairytale ending.
The Beal-centric recap is up. Now we focus on all the other numbers and oddities inside Washington's first win of 2013...
*The Thunder may have triumphed over all over Western Conference teams last year en route to reaching their first NBA Finals, but somehow they have lost two straight to the Wizards. Last season -- also at the Verizon Center-- , Washington won 105-102.
*The Wizards have only five wins on the season, yet two of them have come against the two teams that reached last season's NBA finals. Washington stunned Miami 105-101 on Dec. 4.
"That's something that you can't explain," Trevor Ariza said.
I think we would all agree on that.
*Speaking of Ariza, the Wizards small forward along with guard A.J. Price returned to the lineup after missing 17 and 15 games respectively. Randy Wittman needed the pair considering on this night Nene, Jordan Crawford and Cartier Martin all sat out with injuries.
Wittman said, "Being down to basically seven guys and having to talk A.J. and Trevor - with the doctor's approval, Ok, with the doctor's approval. I just want to make that clear. I don't want to get anything started here. ...They agreed to it."
The veiled reference to you know what elicited chuckles in the pressroom. Both players acknowledged they wanted in.
"I was ready to play a couple of games ago, but it's not my decision," Price said. "I had to wait."
*Three points on Beal, which is appropriate seeing as...
- The No.3 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft made 5 of 7 3-pointers against the Thunder, the most he's made in any game this season, and collectively the Wizards shot a season-high 55.6 percent (10 of 18). Since ending 2012 with 17 consecutive misses from beyond the arc, Beal is now 14 of 25 (56 percent) from distance.
- The University of Florida product played 45 minutes, his high for any non-overtime game this season. Beal played 48 in Friday's double-overtime loss to Brooklyn...
- He has now scored at least 22 points in three of the last five games. The scoring guard posted a career-best 24 against the Nets, including a game-tying 3-pointer and two clutch free throws. The following day at practice, Beal described his confidence as "sky high." I asked him where it was after his first NBA game-winner.
“It’s even higher, but I’m staying level headed, still being humble. I still have a lot of work to do."
*One more note on Ariza, who scored three points in 14 minutes. Incredibly he's riding a personal two-game winning streak seeing as his last game in the upset over Miami.
*Washington won its first game without Nene this season.
*You think Oklahoma City, you think long range baskets, among other things. In the last two games against Washington, only 10 of 44 from beyond the arc, including Monday's 6 of 25 (24 percent) effort. Not alone in the clanking, but Russell Westbrook missed five of six -- finished 4 of 17 overall -- and is 1 of 8 from distance in the two games.
*Ramming down one dunk after another, Jan Vesely finished with a season-high 10 points on 5 of 6 shooting with seven rebounds. Also worth noting, he's played two games against Durant and the mighty Thunder. Guess who is 2-0.