The Washington Wizards dominated the visiting Charlotte Bobcats Saturday in a 104-87 home victory at the Verizon Center. Trevor Ariza led Washington off the bench with a team-high 26 points and 10 rebounds while Bobcats guard Kemba Walker led all scores with 29 points on 11-for-25 shooting.
"It's just been so big for us," said Wizards Head Coach Randy Wittman postgame, regarding the bench production of Ariza. "The way we were going in the first half on the inside game, Nene, we were playing through him, and then the second half they (the Bobcats) decided, 'Well, we're not going to allow that anymore,' and it opened up on the outside. So to have Martell (Webster) and Trevor (Ariza) make shots like that, it was good to see that come back." Nene finished the night two rebounds shy of a double-double with 19 points and 8 rebounds, while Webster scored his 20 points in the first three quarters.
"It's weird like that sometimes," said Ariza, regarding his success behind Webster in rotation. "We feed off each other. That's just how it is sometimes when you get close to people. You help each other out throughout the year, just try to feed off of everybody's energy."
Washington never trailed Charlotte and even got a three-point basket out of John Wall, his second make out of 18 attempts this season (0.111). Wall finished with 13 points, 6 assists, and 2 blocks on the night, as he hounded Walker on every fast break the Bobcats found themselves running.
"It's a work in progress," said Wittman, regarding Wall's jumper. "He works hard at it every day. I thought he bounced back tonight. That's the thing that's important in making the next stride in his shooting, is continuing the confidence." Wall went 6-for-11 Saturday after a poor 6-for-19 Friday night, but Coach Wittman said he "wouldn't take any of those shots back."
"It was good just to get a win period," said Wall after the victory. "After losing the last two games and how everything ended last night, we wanted to come out and not let this one slip away. I think we did a great job of closing this one out, we kinda let them come back in the game in the third quarter but we kept a decent enough lead."
The Wizards will challenge the Cleveland Cavaliers Tuesday (7:00 p.m. ET, CSN) then come home Wednesday to host the Milwaukee Bucks (7:00 p.m. ET, CSN), in what could be, theoretically, a pivotal game. The Bucks currently hold the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference with a 31-29 record whereas the 20-41 Wizards would need to win all of their remaining 21 games in order to break even at .500.