The Washington Wizards entered this season with a plan to be more versatile. They wanted to shoot more threes, run faster and utilize small-ball tactics that other teams have found much success with.
It all came together on Monday night when Randy Wittman decided to close with Jared Dudley at center and Otto Porter at power forward. It forced the Miami Heat to remove Hassan Whiteside from the game and Washington eventually ran the Heat off the court.
Washington is still under .500, but this game was a definite step in the right direction. They have talented players who're getting healthy, and all are more and more familiar with how to make small ball work.
Washington closed the game with a lineup of John Wall, Beal, Gary Neal, Porter and Dudley. Having five perimeter players on the floor created spacing and driving lines. The key, Wittman insisted, was pushing the pace and moving the ball in half-court sets. By the end of the night, Wall, Beal and Neal had combined for 69 points. “We did a great job of penetrating, making them move,” Wittman said. “The ball usually finds the guys’ hands that it needs to find. We just continue to move the ball. We didn’t care about them switching and attacked. We have been playing short-handed and this is a good lesson that if we just play hard and come out with that intensity level, it doesn’t matter who we have out. We will have an opportunity to win. I’m really proud of our guys.”