Defensive dominance is key to being able to win important games. The Los Angeles Clippers entered the Verizon Center with a nine game winning streak and as one of the hottest teams in the league. The Washington Wizards put on a defensive show, never giving the Clippers a lead during the game and causing 18 turnovers. The Wizards strong effort ended the Clippers nine game winning streak with a 104-96 victory.
The Wizards came into the game wanting to make a statement, proving they are among some of the leagues elite teams. The Wizards came out playing great defense against one of the leagues most electric offenses. In the first quarter, the Wizards created havoc to the Clippers offense. The Clippers shot just 1-6 from behind the arc and committed four turnovers allowing the Wizards to take an early advantage and a 30-21 lead.
The tremendous defensive effort from the Wizards continued into the second quarter. The Clippers could not find their groove, shooting a gruesome 10% from behind the arc and continued committing turnovers. The Wizards however, thrived from behind the arc hitting 75% of their three-point shots in the first half. The Wizards ended the first half on a 12-2 run and with a 57-42 lead.
The Wizards had no worries in the second half as the Clippers came only within eight points of the Wizards lead. Bradley Beal was lights out in the second half and took control of the Wizards scoring affairs with 18 second half points. The Clippers high scoring offensive was nowhere found in the Verizon Center as they posted just 96 points compared to their season average of 107 points per game. The Wizards 11-2 home record is the best start in franchise history and home court advantage helped earn a 104-96 victory over the red-hot Clippers.
Bradley Beal had his best performance of the season ending up with a game high 29 points while shooting 9-17 from the field and adding four three pointers. In just 22 minutes of play, Marcin Gortat racked up 18 points while shooting 8-10 from the field. John Wall recorded his 14th double-double of the season adding 10 points with 11 assists.
The Clippers started slow and could not get out of the hole they dug themselves into. Chris Paul led the team with 19 points, seven rebounds, and six assists. Blake Griffin also added 14 points, but the Wizards held him to just two rebounds the entire game.
Topper’s Top Player: Bradley Beal. A game after Beal’s buzzer-beater win over the Magic, his confidence carried over and assisted the Wizards to victory. His overall performance was terrific, carrying his team with 29 points and also added three steals. Beal’s shooting game is a great sign showing that he may now be 100% healthy following the broken wrist he suffered during the pre-season. This could be the start to Beal’s breakout season which will help take a lot of weight off of John Wall’s shoulders.
The Wizards record improves to 16-6 and are currently in third place in the Eastern Conference. Randy Wittman’s team will look to continue their home court dominance as the Utah Jazz visit the Verizon Center Sunday night.
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