If Nick Young is shooting imaginary arrows after hitting three-pointers, JaVale McGee is blowing a kiss to the crowd after hitting a foul line jumper and John Wall has a been-there-done-that nonchalance after knocking down his second three-point attempt in 17 tries, then it’s probably going to be a decent night for the Wizards.
But what happened on Tuesday at Rose Garden, where the Wizards pulled off an improbable 124-109 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers, was truly spectacular. After the game, Young said the Wizards had “one of those nights.”
That is a gross understatement, because the Wizards have never looked better and Portland probably had never been worse. Late in the fourth quarter, when it appeared that Young, Wall, McGee and Jordan Crawford weren’t going to let their team roll over, an angry Trail Blazers fan shouted, “You’re about to lose to the Wizards? That’s pathetic!”
The Wizards (7-22) were anything but pathetic as they set a new season high in points scored, field goal percentage (60) and three-point field goal percentage (52.9). The absence of Portland all-star forward LaMarcus Aldridge certainly had an effect on the outcome, but it doesn’t explain how the Wizards put together their most efficient offensive game of the season.
The final numbers are astounding and baffling, considering the Wizards’ season-long offensive woes and an opponent that has a reputation for possessing one of the NBA’s stingiest defenses.
Portland entered the game allowing teams to score 92.8 points and shoot 43.7 percent from the field, but after his team surrendered season highs in points allowed, field goals allowed and opponent field goal percentage, Trail Blazers Coach Nate McMillan said, “There was no defense. This team got the better of us as the game went on. We never established that we could stop these guys.”
- The Wizards entered the game ranked 25th in scoring at 90.3 points per game, but had 91 after three quarters.
- They entered the game ranked 28th in field goal percentage at 42.1 percent but they shot 60 percent or better in three of the four quarters. The lone “off” period was the second quarter, when the Wizards shot 52.4 percent (their previous season high for an entire game was 52.6 percent).
- The Wizards scored 124 points with just 80 field goal attempts and 23 free throw attempts (Portland had 109 points on 85 field goal attempts and 27 free throw attempts).
- The Wizards set a franchise record for scoring futility with 64 points in Chicago earlier this season. They had 66 in the second half, easily the best half of the season.
- Three players scored at least 20 points (Young, 35; Wall, 29; Crawford, 21), but none took more than 17 shots.
- Of the 10 players who saw action, Trevor Booker and Maurice Evans were the only two that failed to make at least half of their shots.
- The Wizards made 48 field goals, nearly 13 more than their season average (35.2).
- Young made a career-high seven three-pointers. The Wizards have only had at least seven three-pointers in six games this season. Fifteen times they’ve failed to make at least four.
- The Wizards topped 100 points for just the seventh time this season. They are now 4-3 when they reach triple digits.
Add in the element that the game was played on the road and the Wizards arrived at Rose Garden with just two victories away from Verizon Center, and it causes more head scratching. The Wizards hadn’t won consecutive games on the same road trip in nearly four years.
“It was great from the start,” Young said. “We were all just feeding off of each other. It felt good out there.”
Whatever the Wizards did in preparation for the game — such as Young ditching a pair of shoes he had purchased the day before at Nike headquarters to put on a trust pair of Penny Foamposites — they should attempt to duplicate it for every game going forward.
This kind of night might not happen again.