The play of Emeka Okafor tends to go overlooked –- especially when John Wall scores a career-high 47 points -- but the Wizards center opened some eyes in Monday’s upset win vs. the Memphis Grizzlies.
“We just couldn't sustain anything defensively because John had such a good shooting night,” Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said of Wall’s 13-for-22 shooting. “He hit shots inside and out, and Emeka Okafor dominated the paint for the most part.”
Okafor had 21 points on 9-for-15 shooting and nine rebounds in that 107-94 victory. The Wizards won the battle inside the paint with one of the NBA’s most dominant teams with a 40-34 edge in points without Nene (sore right knee). They doubled the second-chance points 12-6.
Memphis had cut the deficit to 98-94, but it was Okafor who hit the clutch shot. He slipped a screen he'd set for Wall, received the pass from him and drilled a jumper at the top of the lane with 1:34 left in the game.
"Just getting in the flow, understand the system, finding the seams," Okafor said of his play lately, including five double-doubles in March. "It just shows what we can do."
The Wizards began a four-game road trip by losing at the Charlotte Bobcats, the NBA's worst team, last week. They also won at the Los Angeles Lakers, coming back from an 18-point deficit. They've also beaten the Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers recently.
They already have beaten Wednesday's opponent, the Oklahoma City Thunder, in January without Wall.
"That seems to be our M.O. for the year. We seem to rise to the occasion," said Okafor, who exited Monday's game with 1:10 left to a round of applause at Verizon Center. "The fact that we compete ... it's there. We just got to dig it out every single night."