Washington Wizards: 2 Straight Overtime Victories Show Wizards’ Resolve

Mar 11, 2017; Portland, OR, USA; Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Wizards have won five games in a row now. It looks like they have things figured out since the All-Star Break.

The Washington Wizards played their fourth game in five days on March 11. They came out a bit sluggish against the Portland Trail Blazers. But, the result was another overtime victory, their second straight, 125-124.

Just when things looked like they would fall apart for the Wizards, they’ve come together as a team. They have now won five games in a row, four straight on the road. It is the first time the Wizards have won consecutive games on the road since 1991.

With each game, somebody different has stepped up. Against Portland, it was forward Markieff Morris who saved the day. Morris made the game-winning shot with 0.4 seconds remaining in the game. And of course it wasn’t without controversy.

It appeared Morris stepped out, but still the Washington Wizards won the game. They outscored the Trail Blazers 34-19 in the fourth quarter. Superstar point guard John Wall finished the game with 39 points, nine assists and two rebounds.

Wall snapped his streak of double-doubles at four games, but the Wizards still got the victory.

The Washington Wizards are now 41-24, second in the Eastern Conference. They trail the Cleveland Cavaliers by just two games for the No. 1 spot. As their Western road trip comes to an end against the Minnesota Timberwolves, they are 4-0.

The Wizards have become the hottest team since the New Year began. They are 25-8 since Jan. 1 and 6-1 in the month of March. Despite allowing a season-high 115.7 points per game, the Wizards are averaging a season-high 119.3 points per game.

As their final stretch of games approaches, here’s a look at what their latest victories mean to their push for the top seed in the East.

Mar 11, 2017; Portland, OR, USA; Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

A Tale Of Two Halves

The Washington Wizards have come out sluggish in their last two road games. Each game has been a tale of two halves, but in the end, they still have found a way to get a victory.

In the first half of the past two games, opponents outscored them 138-105. They trailed Sacramento by 12 at the half back on Friday night. They trailed Portland 70-49 at the half on Saturday night.

But in the second half, the Wizards came back as a whole different team. They outscored opponents 123-90, 64-40 in the fourth quarter. Washington trailed Sacramento by as many as 15 points and Portland by as many as 21 points. Still, they found a way to get the victory.

Against Portland on March 11, shooting guard Bradley Beal had a huge fourth quarter to spark the overtime victory. He scored 16 of his 23 points in the final frame, going 6-for-8 from the floor and 2-for-2 from three-point land.

Center Jason Smith also stepped up off the bench with seven points and two rebounds. Smith went a perfect 3-for-3 from the floor in the fourth in the Wizards’ comeback.

Against the Kings back on March 10, John Wall and Bojan Bogdanovic led the Wizards’ fourth-quarter comeback. Wall scored 10 points, dished out two assists and grabbed a rebound. Bogdanovic scored eight points, shooting 3-for-4 from the floor and 2-for-2 from three.

He also grabbed a rebound.

With one final road game looming against the Timberwolves on March 13, the Wizards will need to continue to contain the elements.

Mar 11, 2017; Portland, OR, USA; Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Containing The Elements

The Washington Wizards have allowed early big leads due to some high-scoring offenses. Portland Trail Blazers’ guard Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum combined for 67 points and 13 assists.

As a team, the Wizards held Lillard and McCollum to just 22 points and three assists in the second half.

To contain their play, the Wizards’ used double-doubles from three of their five starters to offset things. Washington’s bench managed just 14 points in the game. The Wizards’ starters outscored the Trail Blazers 111-93.

Otto Porter played another good game against Portland. He scored 18 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, dished out four assists and nabbed two steals in the 125-124 overtime victory.

Center Marcin Gortat finished with 15 points and 15 rebounds, his 35th double-double of the season. Forward Markieff Morris finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds, including his controversial game-winning field goal with 0.4 secs remaining in overtime.

The Sacramento Kings used a big first quarter from newly acquired guard Buddy Hield back on March 10 to jump out to an early lead. Hield scored 13 points, sinking three three-pointers in the first frame.

But the team would shut the rookie guard down for the rest of the game. He finished with 18 points in the game.

Bradley Beal finished the game against the Kings with his first double-double of the season. He had 38 points and 10 rebounds. It was his eighth 30-point game of the season.

With each player stepping up and learning their respective role in key moments, the Wizards are beginning to show the poise of a top team in the East.

Mar 11, 2017; Portland, OR, USA; Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Securing the East’s Top Seed

The Washington Wizards are showing they have the chemistry to take the No. 1 spot in the East. They trail Cleveland by just two games for first place with 17 games left in the season.

With 11 games left against Eastern Conference teams, they have a good chance of securing the top spot. The Washing Wizards have an 11-7 record against the remaining opponents in their schedule in the East.

After their current road trip concludes against Minnesota, they have one more West Coast road trip against the Los Angeles Lakers (March 28) , Los Angeles Clippers (March 29), Utah Jazz (March 31) and Golden State Warriors (April 2).

The Wizards are 16-8 so far against Western Conference teams this season. They also face the Dallas Mavericks  at home on March 15.

John Wall and Bradley Beal are playing well and showing no signs of slowing down. Since the All-Star Break, Wall is averaging 23.9 points, 11.9 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game. Beal is averaging 28.3 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game across the same span.

As they continue to play well, so do other teammates. Otto Porter has gotten out of his slump in the past two games, shooting 15-for-25 from the field (60 percent). Since his slump, Porter is averaging 18.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.0 steals per game in the past two contests.

There’s also the addition of Bojan Bogdanovic on the bench. Bogdanovic is averaging 16.0 points and 2.7 rebounds per contest through 10 games so far. He’s shooting 50 percent from the floor and 49 percent from three.

As the season comes to a close, look for the Wizards to make a final push for the top spot in the East. They’ve got the depth and strength in their starting lineup to get the job done.

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