On St. Patrick’s Day in DC, the Washington Wizards protected their home court and delivered a statement win over the Indiana Pacers 109-102. This victory gives the Wizards the series win over the Pacers and they’ll now own the tiebreaker and the upper hand in the standings should these teams finish the regular season with identical records. You can check out our recap of the game here. Read on for more on what Scott Brooks, Bradley Beal and Marcin Gortat had to say from the locker room.
Scott Brooks praises Marcin Gortat’s 18-point performance:
“He easily could’ve had 25 tonight”
Gortat’s 18 points was the most points he scored since dropping 16 in a Jan. 13 win over the Brooklyn Nets. Gortat shot 6-of-8 from the field and hit all six of his free throws. Brooks isn’t wrong about Gortat potentially scoring 25 points if he had more playing time. Gortat was clocked into the game for 24:30 but did not play in the entire fourth quarter. Nonetheless it was still a confidence builder type of game for the Polish Hammer as it was his seventh game of the season with 16 or more points.
Bradley Beal kept Victor Oladipo in check this time:
“We just made sure we were aggressive with him.”
The local DeMatha High School product did not have as good of a homecoming Saturday night as he did 13 days prior. In that March 4 meeting, Oladipo dropped 33 points on 11-of-20 shooting including 2-of-4 from three.
This time around, Oladipo was held to 18 points on 7-of-16 shooting and only made one of his four three-point attempts. Another difference between the two games was his +/- rating. Oladipo was a +19 in the early-March meeting but was nearly the exact opposite on Saturday with a -18.
Marcin Gortat had good things to say about Al Jefferson:
“I have mad respect.”
The Polish Machine was matched up with Al Jefferson, who was starting in place of Myles Turner who was suffering a high ankle sprain injury. The thing that made the matchup of the centers the most intriguing was the fact that it was two seasoned veterans going head to head.
While Gortat lit up the stats sheet Jefferson was held to just four points in the final three quarters after scoring six in the opening 12 minutes. Jefferson was 4-for-11 from the field.
The respect between the two veteran centers was mutual from Jefferson’s side as well:
Gortat talks about the road ahead:
“We have tough teams coming into our house.”
The Wizards have a tough stretch coming up as they look to claim the number three seed come playoff time. Like Gortat said, if they play like they did Saturday night, they should be fine.
The Wizards will be off for three days before taking on the Spurs in San Antonio, a place they haven’t won at since 1999. Then the Wizards will come back to DC to host the Nuggets on Phil Chenier night. The Nuggets are fighting for that eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. They’ll also have some tough games against the Spurs, who will also come to DC, Rockets, Cavs, and Celtics before the regular season concludes.