The Washington Wizards were back at it again tonight fresh off of their win against the Miami Heat, a victory that many doubted the underdog team could pull off. This time around the Wizards went head to head against the Orlando Magic and came out victorious with a 117-109 win.
Odds are that most who tuned in to watch the game tonight were betting against the Wizards, and after losing 8 out of 12 games this season who could blame them? The Wizards were forced to catch an L at the hands of the Orlando Magic just three nights ago on their opponents home turf at Amway Stadium with a 117-108 defeat.
But there was something different about the way the Wizards approached their rematch against the Orlando Magic tonight. The team showed grit, matching Orlando in intensity from the moment the two teams met face-to-face for tip off.
By halftime it became clear to me that I was finally going to witness the type of game I knew the Wizards were capable of.
And as I watched John Wall land his two-pointer right as quarter 2 came to an end, securing the 55-55 tie, I knew the game could be his for the taking.
It’s impossible to deny that Wall exhibited the gameplay of a seasoned champ tonight. Any doubts that may have existed regarding the team leads’ stamina or ability to handle the ball were shutcdown as he landed one shot after another.
By the end of the night Wall had earned a total of 25 points and 10 assists. Bradley Beal trailed closely behind with 21 points and 4 assists, giving me a glimmer of hope that the dynamic duo may have in fact rediscovered their synchronicity.
The player that surprised me the most tonight, however, was Dwight Howard who gave an unexpectedly impressive performance. Howard proved that he could not only earn points, but he could also deliver on his ability to provide quality defense (a skill that no doubt played a large role in him being signed to the Wizards in the first place). By the end of the night Howard had contributed 17 points to the Wizards winning score, as well as 9 rebounds.
Also worth mentioning are Markieff Morris, who has been a consistently strong player throughout the season, and Jeff Green; Morris and Green earned 16 and 18 points respectively.
For me, tonight’s game was nothing less than an emotional rollercoaster. Both teams spent most of the game dangerously close in points, so much so that at any give point the game could have gone in either direction.
At the end of the day, however, the Wizards proved themselves to be the superior team.
Now I wont say I told you so, but I will say that the Wizards have proven this- the road to redemption only requires awareness and the desire to change.