But in the third quarter, right after the Grizzlies got done making halftime adjustments, their offense became muddy,.
Washington scored just 17 points in the third quarter and the Grizzlies cut their lead to single digits.
In the fourth quarter, with just seconds remaining, the Grizzlies managed to trim the deficit to just two.
Despite struggling late in the game, the Wizards had what should’ve been the final possession.
After inbounding the ball, Bradley Beal was swarmed by the Grizzlies, including Marc Gasol, who essentially jumped on his back.
Instead of calling a foul, the official blew his whistle in favor of the Grizzlies, calling a jump-ball.
As the Wizards’ luck would have it, the Grizzlies won the jump-ball, giving themselves one more opportunity to tie the game with a 3-point shot.
Mike Conley maneuvered his way around the Wizards’ defenders and found James Ennis wide open behind the arc. Ennis clanked the shot off the front of the rim, ending the Grizzlies’ hopes of beating the Wizards in overtime again this season.
It wasn’t a pretty win, but it’s a win regardless.
The Wizards came out on top, 104-101, and will take on the New York Knicks on Thursday night on national television (TNT).
Here are the three takeaways from Wednesday’s win.
It’s not like he’s just putting up 20+ points and 10+ assists on a nightly basis – no, that’s not enough for John Wall.
He’s doing it like it’s a showcase against one of the best defensive teams in the league.
He put Marc Gasol to sleep after slowing down mid-fastbreak, turned around and laid the ball in with about two minutes remaining in the game. It wasn’t a casual play at all, yet Wall made it seem that way.
Wall might not get the credit he deserves, but he got some MVP chants at the free throw line against the Grizzlies.
To the casual fan – and probably some who even watch or cover the Washington Wizards – Bradley Beal is considered the best 3-point shooter in the district.
He’s earned that reputation, having become one of the franchise leaders in 3-point shooting.
But this season, Porter has led the Wizards in 3-point shooting percentage (it’s important to note that he attempts about three less than Beal per game, so that can skew the average).
He’s become one of the league’s most efficient low-usage players.
Against the Grizzlies, Porter knocked down four 3-point shots in the first quarter and set the tone for the Wizards offensively.
He’s firing away from deep with no hesitation, which is something he struggled with early in his NBA career.
More importantly, in the fourth quarter, Porter made a 3-point shot late to extend the Wizards’ lead and essentially seal the victory (before the breakdown with seconds remaining).
Porter made a career-high six three point shots on Wednesday. He scored 25 points on 9 of 12 shooting from the field. Porter had 17 points at halftime.
Given how often both Wall and Beal shoot, it’s going to be difficult to expand Porter’s role offensively, but Scott Brooks has to find a way to get him more looks from deep. He’s never been more confident and his percentages reflect it.
There’s no question that Markieff Morris is one of the most talented players on the Washington Wizards’ roster.
His stability and consistency, however, has always hindered him from becoming the player most thought he’d be out of Kansas.
Over the course of the season, Morris has seen his field goal percentage rise significantly. He shot less than 40 percent in November and is making over half of his shots this month.
His ability to create his own shot is almost uncanny. The Wizards don’t have anyone who can fill that role, which is the reason Brooks has stunted Morris’ minutes, allowing him to become a go-to option with the second unit.
Against the Grizzlies, Morris scored 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.
Beal scored just 12 points on the night, so the Wizards needed Morris’ offensive output. He also stole the ball late in the game, which led to the Wizards cutting time off the clock.
Unfortunately, Morris picked up five fouls again and Brooks was forced to play Jason Smith late in the contest.
He dove onto Gasol late, attempting to steal the ball, but his fifth foul could’ve been avoided if he thought about the circumstance. Instead of diving for the steal, it would’ve been more prudent if he played on-ball defense and secured the defensive rebound.