Wild Wiz Win: Russ and Beal are Too Good to be in the Basement

Last night was everything I thought it would be. High scoring, fast pace, no defense and somewhere down in my gut I thought the Wizards would pull it out. I figured that the Nets were rolling and the Wiz were reeling so naturally, it would be a typical NBA regular season game where the complete opposite of what SHOULD happen, happens.

What I didn’t see coming, was the fashion in which the Wiz would win. They went down BIG early. I was texting a friend and we literally thought that Brooks would get fired by halftime and Beal would be traded within 24 hours. I mean, Beal was clearly pissed, his body language said it all:

And then the 4th quarter came… Russ and Beal combined for 37 points and the two 3s in the last 10 seconds that we’ve all seen by now that gave the Wizards the win. Madness. Hope you didn’t bet on the Nets.

That said, was this win the turning point for the Wiz? I’m not sure but I hope so. Two of the team’s four wins this year are against the Nets. Both before/without Harden. While the Nets are certainly a top team in the East, they play less defense than the Wizards. BUT they outscored them, which isn’t easy to do. Lots of good in this game, but certainly not perfect. They should drive home the positives and use this to show themselves that they can beat anybody. With the team back at full strength after the Covid pause, use this as a building block.

Another thing to look at is what Beal and Russ can do when they both have a day. Other than them, the only guys who actually shot well were Mo Wagner and Ish Smith. Imagine if they did it all game! Beal looked like he was about to retire at halftime like Vontae Davis did on the Colts a couple years ago, so Russ put the team on his back and Brad joined in in the 4th. I truly think that they can be a top 5 duo in the league if they get going. Not just backcourt, duo. They’re too good to be in last place in the Eastern Conference.

Judging by Beal’s post-game comments last night, I think he agrees. Gave Russ all of the credit. The Russ is a bad teammate narrative stinks. I hate it. When he goes cold, he hurts his team, no doubt, with his shot selection. But the guy will get down in the paint and box out a big, no questions asked and if he didn’t pass, he wouldn’t average 9.5 assists per game. The dude puts it all on the floor and he’s heating up. Since John Wall was talking, he’s been shooting significantly better. Pair that with Beal when he cares and no one can stop them from lighting it up.

I’d like to be very clear, I would be mad if I was Beal too. Averaging 35 a game on a 4-12 squad has got to just feel like wasted effort. He should use that frustration and hold a players only meeting or something. I think at this point, Brooks is just there. He’s not doing anything. Russ and Beal have to take control of the locker room, rally the troops and address the issue.

I wrote about this previously, but the Wiz have got to play SOME defense. Not even a lot! Just some. With the offensive output, there’s no reason why the likes of the Cavs, Pistons, or Bulls should have a better record than them. And those are just 3 really bad teams. I really think they should be better than the bottom half of the Eastern Conference. The Wiz have time to turn it around. They could and should compete for the 8 seed. Just D up boys! You proved you can score with anybody. Get some stops and the Ws will follow.

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Photo via Washington Wizards

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