Typically speaking for the Wizards, to win they have to shoot well. Winning ugly, something that the Chicago Bulls have perfected, is difficult. Friday's triumph at the Orlando Magic, coach Randy Wittman hopes, represents a turning point. A lot of playoff games are won in the same fashion.
The Wizards only made 40% of their shots, 36-for-90, which was even below their season average of 43% in losses. John Wall missed eight of his first 11 attempts through three quarters before he closed with authority. The Wizards play the second game of a back-to-back vs. the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday (CSN, 7 p.m. ET).
"We've got to believe in ourselves to be able to be a good enough defensive team that when you're not shooting the ball well you still have a chance to win games," Wittman said after his team erased a six-point deficit behind a pair of three-pointers by Wall in the last 65 seconds to force overtime en route to a 105-101 victory. "That's the only reason why we were able to stay close because our defense was pretty good for the most part. We didn't shoot it. I kept telling the guys stay with it."
Wall finished with 21 points on 7-for-18 shooting, including 4-for-7 in the fourth quarter and the extra five-minute period. He hustled back to recover the ball after Bradley Beal blocked a shot by Jameer Nelson in transition that would've given Orlando a three-point lead. Wall located Trevor Ariza setting up for a three-pointer that was good. They were up two, forced the Magic to miss their next four shots and never trailed again.
"I don't care if you're missing shots if they're good shots …. For the most part, we're taking good shots. John couldn't make a shot, got overly aggressive, you keep taking the open shots, believe in yourself. Boom he hits two threes," Wittman said. "Trevor hits a three. We score 18 points in five minutes (of overtime). … We stayed with it.
"Brad's effort on the breakaway, and then the effort behind it. John's in the far corner, throws the ball away to Brad, Brad chases it down, blocks it and John ran from that far corner all the way to get the loose ball. Those are the kind of plays that you have to make to win games like that. Hopefully that'll be a good character-builder for us to have that understanding and belief. We don't have to shoot the ball well to win games."