As John Wall secured an inbound pass in OT of Wednesday’s game against the Nets, it was assumed he would be fouled and hit a couple of free throws to put the game out of reach. Instead, he stepped out of bounds trying to avoid the foul and gave the Nets an opportunity to tie the game in the closing seconds. Fortunately, Brooklyn failed to hit a tying three-pointer and the Wizards eked out a 114-110 victory in their 2nd consecutive overtime game.
Through 3 1/2 quarters, the Wizards felt like they were in control. Even without Markieff Morris, who sat due to calf tightness, Washington was the better team and played like it. Then, it was as if the Wizards tried to put their superiority on autopilot and coast to a victory – something you can’t do against any team in the NBA – and it almost proved disastrous.
Brooklyn made big shot downs the stretch as Washington struggled to defend the paint. And buckets didn’t come as easily for the Wizards as they did earlier in the game – or even as they did in Monday’s OT loss to Cleveland. Granted, the refs decided not to call fouls late in the game, but it was consistent for both sides.
All that being said, Washington still won the game. It wasn’t due to extraordinary plays or late-game heroics, it was simply from being the better team. They didn’t have to necessarily play as the better team. These are the type of games that Washington would’ve found a way to lose last season, and though moral victories aren’t needed in actual victories, it’s a bonus that the Wizards can incidentally win close games.
It’s very similar to how the Cavaliers beat the Wizards. They didn’t play better, but the team with the better players always seems to get more of the ‘lucky’ bounces and incidental plays. No, the Nets game wasn’t as good as the Cavs game, but it proved the same point in case you didn’t catch it yet. The Wizards aren’t just an avereage team playing good basketball right now; they’re actually a good basketball team.