Garrett Temple has started in place of the injured Bradley Beal because the Wizards need him on the defensive end and John Wall needs him on the floor to occasionally free him from some of the ball-handling duties. Any offense that Temple provides is never expected but always accepted.
But with the Wizards down to just two healthy guards and Trevor Ariza toughing it out on a sore left knee, Temple had to add scoring to his list of responsibilities on Wednesday against Milwaukee; right below keeping Bucks shooting guard Monta Ellis from doing too much damage.
Temple contributed a much-needed 13 points on 6 of 7 shooting in 41 minutes for the Wizards and helped his team make up for the absence of Beal (sprained left ankle) and backup point guard A.J. Price (sore right groin) in a 106-93 victory.
“It felt good to help the team out,” said Temple, who had scored a combined 12 points on 5 of 16 shooting in his previous seven games. “We had some guys banged up. A.J. couldn’t go because of his groin, Brad still wasn’t able to go because of his ankle and I knew I was going to have to play a pretty good amount of minutes.”
Ellis still led the Bucks with 26 points, but Temple outscored his counterpart, 4-3, in the fourth quarter, making two layups during a 7-0 run to start the period as the Wizards rallied after blowing a 20-point second-half lead.
“Like Coach [Randy Wittman] said, we basically won the game twice,” Temple said. “We were up 20 at one point and they made a big run. Monta hit a couple of tough shots and we were able to come back in the beginning of fourth to get some stops and get a good pace into the game, that was a big difference in the fourth quarter, being able to get pace.
“When we get pace, I’m a pretty good player in transition,” Temple said. “I like to get steals, get some layups and knock down some open jumpers.”
Temple hadn’t scored in double figures since Feb. 4, when he had a season-high 15 points in a win over the Los Angeles Clippers and he hadn’t played at least 40 minutes since playing a career-high 47 in a double-overtime loss to Brooklyn on Jan. 4 – before John Wall made his season debut. He had been used sparingly before Wittman decided to put him back into the starting lineup during a 104-87 win over the Charlotte Bobcats. But the Wizards are now 6-5 with Temple starting alongside Wall and they are 5-0 at home.
“When you get more time you contribute a little better,” Martell Webster said. “He got a lot of time, so he was able to find his niche within the offense.”