Otto Porter Jr. is the best player in the Washington Wizards’ 120-116 win over the Atlanta Hawks Monday. Not by a long shot, but in a bunch of small ways. Porter set the tone with a strong season debut, scoring a career-high 26 points on 11-of-19 shooting with 10 rebounds, three steals and three assists. He’s playing basketball for the first time since a technical foul and ejection in Dallas on Dec. 29 led to one of the few nights that the Wizards lost in regulation since the All-Star break.
Dante Exum’s decision to leave Houston and sign with Washington wasn’t popular. Despite enjoying a solid rookie season, some figured that the Minnesota Timberwolves would have been the best landing spot for the 2017 first-round pick. But Exum and the Rockets, who were clearly done for the season, were only looking for cap relief; Houston didn’t need to ship out an asset to make a move. Furthermore, there were so many other teams running around the trade market.
That doesn’t mean Porter’s decision to join Washington wasn’t a smart one for the Wizards. He can play, he brings defense and his willingness to take the ball to the basket in transition isn’t something the Wizards have often done. His jumper didn’t seem quite right Monday, but Wizards coach Scott Brooks was pleased with his initial contribution and he had plenty more to come.
Other reasons to like Washington’s 120-116 win against Atlanta on Monday:
Bradley Beal and John Wall are going to play well together: The Wizards blew leads of 16 and 13 points in the third quarter, with an assist from Atlanta, but it was John Wall (27 points, 10 assists) who got the Wizards to close the door on the Hawks, thanks to his roll in the fourth. Bradley Beal (22 points, five rebounds, four assists) also had a strong showing in the win.
Bradley Beal and John Wall are going to play well together — Inside the Wizards () February 12, 2019