Defensive ability will keep Ariza on the floor

Defensive ability will keep Ariza on the floor
November 9, 2013, 5:00 pm
Share This Post

Highlights: Wizards 112, Nets 108 (OT)

The three-point shot that Trevor Ariza hit to secure the first home victory for the Wizards will be the signature moment of Friday's 112-108 overtime victory vs. the Brooklyn Nets. 

It shouldn't be. Ariza had a miserable game on the offensive end and was a far cry from the small forward who was the Wizards' only offensive spark when he made 6 of 11 threes in the season-opening loss in Detroit. 

"Trevor had a tough night offensively, but you know what he stepped up and made a big three," said coach Randy Wittman, who will play Ariza at power forward when he goes to a small-ball lineup. 

Ariza took a pass from Nene, who was under the rim and drew the attention of four defenders, and drained the go-ahead shot with 40.3 seconds left for a 108-106 lead. The Wizards never looked back. He tallied just one rebound and three assists. 

"If I'm open I'm going to shoot it. That's what we do," said Ariza, who shot 2-for-8 overall. "I work on my jumper every day. Every night isn't going to be a good night but I stuck with it. ... When I got it I didn't think twice. I let it go."

But there was a good reason why Ariza was on the floor for 44 minutes despite his lack of offensive production: Defense.

"If that's what's going to keep me on that floor to get those opportunities then absolutely I'm going to do everything I can to stay on the floor because I love to compete," Ariza said. 

He held Paul Pierce scoreless in regulation. Pierce finished with four points for the Nets and only made one field goal.

Ariza, who is 6-8 and the Wizards' best one-on-one defender, gave him fits. But he wouldn't take full credit for the effort against Pierce. 

"We just played aggressive. I don't think he got any open looks," Ariza said. "We played great team defense. It's definitely a team defense thing.

"One man cant stop anybody, especially somebody like that. He has over 20,000 points so he can score. One man can't stop him. I give all the credit to our team and our schemes."