Wizards Snatch Victory From Jaws of Defeat — Wall Hits Game Winner — 92-91

With the clock ticking down and the Wizards’ season about to be snuffed out, John Wall rose up and hit a game-winning three point shot after both he and Bradley Beal struggled from long distance all night.  This game 6 against the Celtics looked all night like the type of game that a Washington D.C. franchise was going to fritter away.  Poor owner Ted Leonsis had to wondering if his life was more defined by AWOL than AOL as the characteristic DNA of his club was not in evidence until the fourth quarter.  Even then the team was down by 5 and the Celtics had the ball with about 1 minute to play.  It looked hopeless.  But Beal hit a clutch three pointer and they closed down on Isaiah Thomas on defense to give themselves a fighting chance at the end.

Here are some of the indicators early on in the first half especially that had me worried:

  • The Wizards were missing their free throws
  • They could not hit on any three point buckets
  • They looked slow to the ball and were out-hustled on some 50-50 balls
  • Marcin Gortat got in early foul trouble and had to sit most of the first half
  • The Celtics played one of their poorest offensive halves of the playoffs and still they led the Wizards by 1 at the intermission
  • I didn’t like the body language of the Wizards — despite the home crowd, it did not look like we had the enthusiasm and energy I expected

But unlike their hockey counterparts, the Wizards buckled down in the second half and battled right to the final buzzer.  When clutch Al Horford drained a 16 foot shot off the backboard from a severe angle to take a 2 point lead, things looked bleak.  But Wall showed the character and toughness of a leader to step up and hit the game winner.  Now the pressure is off the Wizards and maybe they can find their long distance shooting on Monday night to advance to the next round.  Win or lose Monday — they made a statement tonight that they won’t back down from anyone.  This win was all about heart and guts.