Bench pow­ers Wizards past Kings

Scott’s 15 points, Oubre’s bal­anced play paces Wash­ing­ton to third con­sec­u­tive vic­tory

The Star Democrat - - SPORTS -

(WPNS) — For the sec­ond straight game, the Wash­ing­ton Wizards have turned sig­nif­i­cant seg­ments over to the bench and lived to tell about it.

Against the Sacra­mento Kings on Mon­day night, Mike Scott hit the bull’s eye on al­most ev­ery shot at­tempt. Kelly Oubre Jr. found younger and less in­ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers to bully, and like a wiry vet­eran, he doled out lessons to the young bucks. And when it was en­trusted with the game, the Wizards’ five­man bench played at a fast and un­re­lent­ing tempo, guid­ing Wash­ing­ton to the 110-92 win over Sacra­mento in front of an an­nounced crowd of 14,660 at Cap­i­tal One Arena.

John Wall did not miss a shot un­til the 6-minute, 31-sec­ond mark of the third quar­ter, and Otto Porter Jr. as well as Marcin Gor­tat played com­pe­tently while match­ing up against Sacra­mento’s starters, but these con­tri­bu­tions amounted to just nice de­tails in the Wizards’ third straight win and eighth in 13 games. The bench pow­ered this one, re­set­ting the ac­tion af­ter the first unit’s poor de­fen­sive start and flip­ping a sev­en­point deficit into a last­ing lead.

Oubre and Scott en­tered the Mon­day matchup as the high scor­ers on the bench and con­tin­ued that trend against the Kings. Scott hit his first four shots and eclipsed his 8.0 scor­ing av­er­age by half­time. He fin­ished with 15 points on 6-for-8 shoot­ing. Oubre played a bal­anced game with 12 points, eight re­bounds and two steals.

Wall made 8 of 9 from the field for 21 points and fin­ished with nine as­sists, while Gor­tat scored 18 and pulled down seven re­bounds. Porter pro­vided 15 points, and Bradley Beal scored 14 but rested through much of the fourth quar­ter while the sec­ond unit fin­ished the job.

The bench scored 38, not quite match­ing its 54-point per­for­mance from Satur­day against the At­lanta Hawks but again re­ward­ing Coach Scott Brooks for play­ing five role play­ers at the same time.

“I’m not say­ing I’m go­ing to be stuck with those line­ups,” Brooks said be­fore the game. “I’d like to see our guys con­tinue to build some rhythm and chem­istry to­gether.”

The Wizards’ re­cent sched­ule has helped the sec­ond unit bond. On Satur­day, the group matched against the re­serves for the Hawks, at 2-11 the worst team in the East­ern Con­fer­ence. And on Mon­day, the bench faced a Sacra­mento team so green that Oubre, the Wizards’

youngest player at 21, could re­late old AAU sto­ries about rook­ies De’Aaron Fox and Justin Jack­son, two key role play­ers for the Kings, at the morn­ing shoot around.

“If they haven’t had that ‘ Wel­come to the NBA’ mo­ment, then it’ll be com­ing soon,” Oubre said with a smirk. “It’s kind of like Hous­ton hoops home­com­ing for me.”

And a party for the Wizards’ bench. Be­sides the rook­ies, Sacra­mento sent sec­ond- year play­ers Buddy Hield and Skal Labissiere, along with vet­eran Kosta Ko­ufas, onto the court at the start of the sec­ond quar­ter to pro­tect a 32- 25 lead. The group, not ex­actly a fear­some five, took over af­ter the Kings’ starters had made 12 of 22 shots, in­clud­ing four from the three- point arc.

Wash­ing­ton’s re­serves, in­clud­ing Tim Fra­zier, Jodie Meeks and Ian Mahinmi, cleaned up where the starters had made a de­fen­sive mess.

Meeks hit driv­ing shots on con­sec­u­tive pos­ses­sions, then Oubre be­gan his mis­sion to re­claim AAU supremacy, out­work­ing Jack­son for a strong of­fen­sive re­bound and put­back. Then Scott en­tered tar­get prac­tice. Oubre, who at­tacked Jack­son on ev­ery half- court pos­ses­sion, pen­e­trated and found Scott be­hind him, wide open at the el­bow.

Over the open­ing 3: 43 of the quar­ter, Wash­ing­ton outscored the Kings 152. As the Wizards’ starters re­turned, Sacra­mento Coach Dave Jo­erg­er­stayed with his young sub­sti­tutes, and that meant Wall faced lit­tle re­sis­tance as well. With 3: 46 re­main­ing in the half, Wall sized up Jack­son, who gave a shooter who had not missed at that point sev­eral feet of airspace, and hit his third three of the half. For the game, Wall made all four at­tempts from the arc in his best shoot­ing game of the sea­son.

WPNS PHOTO

Kelly Oubre Jr. (12 points) and the re­serves pro­vided a spark in the sec­ond quar­ter as the Wizards beat the Kings on Mon­day night.

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