Bench powers Wizards past Kings
Scott’s 15 points, Oubre’s balanced play paces Washington to third consecutive victory
(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.
Kelly Oubre Jr. (12 points) and the reserves provided a spark in the second quarter as the Wizards beat the Kings on Monday night.