Wow, what a game! Davis Bertans set a new career-high for points scored with 32 on the night and shot at an excellent clip from deep at 66%. If you were unable to watch his shooting barrage in real-time, I suggest you look up his highlights now!
Watching Bertans absolutely dominant the Hornets defense with his outside shooting was a thing of beauty. I couldn’t keep my eyes off the game. Still, the Wizards defense was unable to make key stops late in the game. Despite Bertans’ effectiveness, the Wizards fell to their Southeast divisional rival 114-107.
An incredible night for Davis Bertans
Okay, all jokes aside, Bertans showed DC faithful tonight why his signing was such an important one. Consistent outside shooting from forwards is a luxury in the NBA. Bertans was abusing the smaller Hornets defenders all night, especially in the second half. At one point, Bertans took a contested shot over Devonte Graham from about 30 feet out and absolutely drilled it!
Considering that Beal had an off game offensively, going 0-7 from deep and finishing with 16 points, there is room for optimism. If Bertans can continue to shoot a high percentage from deep, Beal may have found a Robin to his Batman for the season. The defense continues to be a thorn in the Wizards’ side, however.
Bertans has the ability to take over games offensively if he can get hot, and deserves to be a focal point of the offense going forward.
Poor defense too much to overcome
Lazy defense by the Wizards early in the first quarter and down the stretch allowed the Hornets to get out to an early lead and hold onto it for the win. For the Hornets, it was Devonte Graham who carried the load offensively. He finished with 29 points on the night and even managed to hit a clutch banked in three-pointer late in the game.
Early in the first quarter, the Wizards were giving up uncontested threes to larger wing players like Miles Bridges and PJ Washington, players who aren’t known for their quickness. Rather than contesting these slower wing players, the defense was sagging off, allowing open three-point attempts. The Hornets are taking the 10th most three-point attempts this season at a clip of 35.5 a game. Because of this, the defense has to do better early and not allow open three-point attempts.
Positive takeaway in the loss
Rui Hachimura has become a bright spot for the Wizards. Hachimura has gone from a high risk-high reward rookie to a contributing starter, showing flashes of stardom in the first 23 games of the season. There were several times in tonight’s game when Rui got a defensive rebound and quickly started the break towards the other basket. This may not seem that impactful, but if a power forward can start the transition after a rebound it can open up the floor for the rest of the team.
Confidence is key for rookies, and Rui seems to have plenty of it. If Rui can style his game similar to Draymond Green’s, that would fill a much-needed role for this Wizards team. Rui’s positive development remains one of the few positives for this Wizards team.
The Wizards failed to cover Vegas’s -1 spread on the game, as the Hornets won outright 114-107. The over on total points scored for this game was set at 235.5 points which also failed to cover.