Story By: Erin Zollars
Photos By: Sol Tucker
For the Wizards it seems like nothing comes easy. Then comes John Wall, who just seems make things look easy when needed. Wall again shined in the final minutes of the fourth quarter and it was his fire that ignited the Wizards to their first victory of the season over the new look Sixers, 120-115.
Wall scored 28 points on 10-of-28 shooting and had eight assists, and his 15-second stretch in the fourth quarter with a layup, block and pass to Marcin Gortat for a dunk showed what he could do in crucial moments.
Gortat responded with 6 huge points in a stretch of 60 seconds in the fourth quarter that made the difference in the game. He had just six points leading up to that stretch run by the Wizards, then the dunk, well that changed it all.
”When John was making some of those dunks, I was telling our coaches, `I cannot believe he just did that,”’ Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. ”Those are things that point guards don’t do, and he just does it so easy.”
”No matter if they’re a young team or not, those are games you kind of want to take away from them and don’t give them any confidence, but they gave us a great test,” Wall said.
The Sixers who have had just a bit of bad luck the past few seasons, they had a lot of hope from both Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz, both who were Number 1 Draft picks in 2016 and 2017 and figure to add a lot of scoring to this team.
J.J Redick had one more shot to send the game to overtime but his three pointer fell just short and it was up to the Wizards to secure the game through foul shots in the final 20 seconds of the game.
Along with Wall leading the way for the Wizards, Bradley Beal finished with 25 points.
One thing worthy of noting tonight was Jason Smith, starting at power forward with Markieff Morris out roughly the first month after sports hernia surgery, played just 7:04 before leaving with a sprained right shoulder. Brooks expects to know more Thursday. Kelly Oubre Jr. had 14 points in replacing Smith. …
This was just the first home opener for the Wizards since 2011 and for the first time in an 82-game season since 2008.