The Wizards came into this game depleted from injuries. The Wizards have seven players currently injured and to top it off Isaiah Thomas could not play due to suspension.
Accordingly, the Capital City Go-Go (the Wizards G League affiliate) were well represented last night. Garrison Mathews, Justin Robison, Anzejs Pasecniks, Admiral Schofield, and newly signed Gary Payton II all got minutes against the Knicks and still came out with the win.
The Capital City Wizards
The Wizards literally had a lineup out on the floor against the Knicks that featured a half dozen players who have all played in the G League this season. It was a good showing due to the hard play of these hungry G Leaguers. The most impressive to me was Gary Payton II who had a very nice stat line. Payton had 10 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, and 6 steals. He was an absolute menace on defense and smothered the opposition. Multiple turnovers were forced due to his pesky activity.
Troy Brown Jr.’s career game
Troy Brown Jr. had a career high in both points and rebounds. Brown Jr. had a stat line of 26 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists, as he flirted with a triple double. With all of the injuries, Brown Jr. had more ball handling duties and he looked very comfortable in that role.
Wizards fans have wanted Brown Jr. to get some play at the point guard position and against the Knicks they got their wish. The injuries that the Wizards have sustained may have unlocked the future role of Brown Jr. on this team. Hopefully, Scott Brooks will continue to utilize Brown Jr. in this way throughout the rest of the season.
Bradley Beal’s late game struggles
Once again as the Wizards led a team late in the fourth quarter and needed to close them out, they turned to their leader Bradley Beal. Beal then had multiple possessions that ended with missed shots or forced attempts. This led to the Knicks cutting the lead down to three with 48 seconds to go.
This time it did not come back to hurt them like it did in the Chicago Bulls game. If Beal is to be a All-NBA player he needs to improve in late game moments when tasked with closing out an opponent. Beal can ascend from All-Star to All-NBA if he can consistently close out teams and continue to hit clutch shots.
The Wizards are off for Christmas and will be back in action on Thursday against the Detroit Piston a 7 P.M.