You may not have noticed but the Washington Wizards are becoming a decent team to watch.
The Wizards capped off a superb effort with a 119-113 victory over the Nuggets. The victory was highlighted by John Wall's masterful pick and roll play at the end of the game. He scored 14 points and dished out 10 assists in the surprising win over the surging Nuggets. More importantly, Wall took what the defense gave him all night, draining a key jumper at the end of the game to give the Wizards the big win:
Mike Prada of Bullets Forever breaks down Wall's decision making in this situation and noted that Wall has to make jumpers to keep defenses honest. Hopefully they saw this video of Wall burying the Nuggets late. Indeed, Wall noted that he has to make the open shots when he gets them.
Wall is not known as a jump shooter by any stretch of the imagination. He is hitting on only 31.1 percent of his jump shots according to Basketball-Reference. He is shooting worse than 40 percent on any shot that is not a layup. Quite clearly, Washington's young point guard has a lot he needs to improve upon in the long run.
However, in the short term, the Wizards are playing surprisingly well.
Washington has won five of the past seven games and has finally cleaned house from the me-first era that featured JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche among others. This is now Wall and Bradley Beal's team with some nice veterans like Emeka Okafor and Nene playing well beside them.
Both Okafor and Nene had big performances Friday to help the Wizards secure the win.
Washington is not competing for a Playoff spot this year, but they are not a walk-over either.
Jack of all trades
Jarrett Jack turned in a 30-point, 10-assist effort in an overtime victory over the Spurs on Friday night. It might have been the sleeves on the jerseys or it might be Jarrett Jack's contract year, but Jack is playing extremely well.
First about that game. Jack's effort was something of a rarity against the Spurs. He became the third player to score 30 points and record 10 assists against the Spurs in a regular season game since 2009. Jack joined a list that includes Chris Paul and LeBron James in that time frame and adds Steve Nash, Dwyane Wade and Stephon Marubry since Gregg Popovich took over.
I do not believe any of those players did it off the bench.
Jack's playmaking in that game was stunning to watch as he toyed with the Spurs defense and helped lock down Tony Parker at the end of the game. It was a very big win for the struggling Warriors.
Jack is averaging 13.6 points and 5.9 assists per game for the Warriors this year. He will be a free agent at season's end.
Home on the Granger
The Indiana Pacers will get Danny Granger back from his season-long injury tonight. Granger is a career 18.2 point per game scorer and someone who should help boost one of the weakest offenses in the league.
Indiana, despite the top defense in the league by points allowed per game and defensive rating, have one of the league's worst offense. Indiana scores 103.3 points per 100 possessions, good for 23rd in the league. Adding Granger should help that right?
Granger helps the team add a good scorer. But he has never been known for efficiency and needs a lot of shots to reach his scoring marks. Then you add in how he has to integrate with All Star Paul George. There is some concern that the two could take shots away from each other -- not to mention David West -- and limit each's effectiveness.
I guess that experiment starts tonight.