- The Washington Times - Monday, November 13, 2017

The Wizards eased to their third consecutive win Monday, a 110-92 handling of the youthful and downtrodden Sacramento Kings. John Wall scored 21 points — he was 4-for-4 from behind the 3-point line, making him 9-for-10 this season against the Kings and 5-for-32 against everyone else — Mike Scott supplied 15 points off the bench, and the night was easy from the second quarter on.

Three points from the evening:

More good bench work. It was the all-bench squad who fixed a second quarter deficit. They also handled most of the fourth quarter — Wall and Bradley Beal had to return temporarily with 5:55 to play, but were on the floor for only a couple of minutes — enabling another extended break for the starters. Because of that, Wall played less than 30 minutes in consecutive games when he was not hurt or being rested for the first time since April 14 and 16, 2014. Even those games were designed to give him a break before the playoffs. They were the final two regular-season games of the 2014 season when this Wizards group made its first playoff appearance. “They gave us [a boost],” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. “We didn’t have the defense that we wanted to. And then we gave up 32 points in that first quarter and our second unit, I think we got six or seven out of eight stops to start the second quarter and that created points.”

Marcin Gortat likes Zach Randolph. Gortat (18 points, seven rebounds) was laughing during the game after Randolph, who moves and is unmoved as if he is bolted to the ground, threw up his hands and went falling forward when pushed by Gortat’s single hand. The flailing was pure veteran, which is probably what should be across the back of Randolph’s jersey instead of his last name, and even caused one of the officials to smile. This is the start of Gortat’s 12th season in the NBA. Randolph has been pushing people out of the paint for 16-plus seasons. “I have just mad respect for the guy,” Gortat said. “This guy’s just all about business. He comes in, doesn’t matter where he plays — New York, Memphis, now [Sacramento] — this guy comes in and just punks whoever he can. Maybe he didn’t punk anybody [Monday], but he’s just throttling people. He’s a physical, physical, heavy, strong dude who is going to go under the basket. He’s not afraid of anybody. He’s playing the same game. Literally, the entire world knows his moves, but he is still getting the moves [effectively] and he’s scoring. I have a mad respect for him. I made it to this league when he was an already proven player. He gave me respect. It’s just tremendous that such a great player like Zach Randolph respects me and respects younger guys. We just talk about this [Monday]. Young guys, they don’t understand what it is to play basketball at a high level, what it takes to be a player under the basket. Those players — they’re not born anymore. They don’t exist like Zach Randolph anymore, who comes in, goes inside and [does the dirty work]. He’s battling with everything. With all respect for him, I don’t think he can jump over the phone book and he’s getting five, six offensive rebounds per game. The secret is he has a heart.”

Doing what they should. The Wizards moved to 8-5 after taking care of Sacramento for the second time this season. Following last week’s home loss to Dallas, Washington has won three in a row against mediocre — or worse — competition. However, that is what they were supposed to be doing. The start of the now-completed four-game homestand looked like a chance for a four-game sweep. Instead, the Wizards started with the ugly loss to the Dallas Mavericks. “We really took this personally,” Gortat said. “We have teams like Phoenix and Dallas coming here and punking us in front of our home crowd. It’s not nice. We all get fire from that. We are a better team than we showed in those two games.” Things are about to become more difficult. Washington plays at Miami on Wednesday, home against Miami on Friday, then participates in its first back-to-back set of games this season Nov. 19-20 at Toronto followed by a game at Milwaukee.

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