“This is a team fighting right in the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff race and we knew this was a game that they were pointing towards,” Wizards Head Coach Randy Wittman said. “I know when you get down to this part of the season, you are fighting for positioning and these are the best wins and our guys responded.”
They responded in a big way, in three previous losses this season to the 76ers, the Washington Wizards had been outscored 326 to 272. The Wizards got their revenge taking it to the 76ers 97-76 in a 48 minute game of total team effort as they snap their five game losing streak.
“That was spectacular by our guys tonight,” Wittman said. “The defensive effort we put forth tonight was just as good, if not better than what we’ve done basically the last seven or eight games.”
The Wizards were only outscored in the 3rd quarter and it was by a margin of two points. Other than that they kept playing solid defense and attacking offensively the whole game. Every time the Sixers made a run, the Wizards countered.
“When we had a lead in the third quarter our second group kept it up. They played great tonight,” Wizards guard John Wall said. “When we got back in there it kind of got down to 14 at one point, but we didn’t fold, we kept running, executing and getting the ball to the post. When they double teamed we made the right passes and made shots.”
The second team was led by Cartier Martin. Martin, who is in his second stint with the Wizards and had played in 104 NBA games before tonight, signed a ten-day contract with Wizards on Wednesday from the NBA Developmental League and the veteran showed why he belongs at this level with his eight for twelve from the field, four of seven from three, performance to lead all scores with 20 points.
“I played within myself,” Martin said. “They have trust in me, believe in me and I was able to make my shots.”
Wizards Head Coach Randy Wittman was also impressed with his effort including his ten point f0urth quarter to close it out and seal the win, something the Wizards have struggled with lately.
“We went 17 points ahead into the fourth and the team made a four-point run,” Wittman said. “We answered with Cartier and that was huge. We tried to play through Nene and then they started doubling him which left Cartier open. For a kid that’s been here two days and not knowing what we are doing, I told him don’t learn anything by Sunday. To have him come out front was great.”
Nene had 16 points on seven of eleven shooting and eight boards before he left the game with a pulled left fascia and is day-to-day.
“It is very important to have Nene,” Martin said. “He understands the game. He opens up the floor for us. He is a great passer and an outstanding player.”
The Wizards held the 76ers to only 11 second chance points, out rebounded them by 14, held Elton Brand and Andre Iguodala to a combined 15 points, and had 18 more points in the paint. It was also the eighth game in a row they’ve held an opponent under 100 points.
“It was great. Tonight we did what we were supposed to do in the last four games,” Nene said. “We played hard, pushed the tempo, hit the boards and were physical…The second group cam in and maintained the level. That’s the reason we won the game.”
Other Wizards stepped up big as well tonight. Jordan Crawford had 17 points, John Wall had nine points, six rebounds and six assists, Jan Vesely had 11 boards and Kevin Seraphin had 14 points and 7 rebounds.
“I thought Kevin (Seraphin) again had a nice game for us,” Wittman said.
Trevor Booker played just over six minutes and left the game also with a pulled left fascia and is day-to-day.
The Wizards head on the road to play the Toronto Raptors on Sunday before they head home for two.
Listen here to what Randy Wittman, Cartier Martin, John Wall, Jordan Crawford, Nene, and Kevin Seraphin had to say following the win.
Randy Wittman Postgame Audio
Cartier Martin Postgame Audio
John Wall Postgame Audio
Jordan Crawford Postgame Audio
Nene Postgame Audio
Kevin Seraphin Postgame Audio