Bench Carries Wizards Past Knicks in New York


Nov 4, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Washington Wizards guard Andre Miller (24) and New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith (8) go after a loose ball during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Entering Tuesday night’s match-up against the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden, Randy Wittman had been receiving a no-show offensively in-large from his bench as a unit.

In the season opening loss at Miami, the bench scored just 20 points – 13 coming from Otto Porter. Against Orlando, just 15 total points. Then, in the home opener against Milwaukee, the bench would have scored just six points if Porter didn’t drop a career-high 21.

But all that changed Tuesday night. Maybe it was the lure of Madison Square Garden awakening the bench. Maybe the unit had heard something that fired them up. Or maybe they just got out of a slump and played the way they know they can play.

Whatever it was, it worked. The bench – consisting of Drew Gooden III, Andre Miller, Kevin Seraphin and Otto Porter – dropped 41 points in Washington’s 98-83 win. DeJaun Blair and Glen Rice, Jr. entered the game, but did not score a basket.

Seraphin led the way for Washington’s second unit. In 22 minutes of action, he scored 15 points and grabbed two rebounds. The Professor, Andre Miller, schooled New York’s guards, dropping 12 points in just 17 minutes on 6-of-10 shooting. He also dished out three assists and grabbed two boards.

Gooden? He scored 10 points, recorded four rebounds and two assists.

Porter didn’t have his best night shooting-wise, only scoring four points, but his presence continued to be felt as he helped control the tempo offensively. He grabbed three offensive rebounds (seven total boards), and recorded four assists.

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Offense wasn’t the only thing the bench contributed. Gooden locked down Carmelo Anthony for much of the night. He was a major role in Anthony’s 8-of-23 shooting and played a part in the seven turnovers Anthony gave up.

The bench also helped keep Washington’s starters fresh. The unit combined to play 106 minutes, and no starters played over 30 minutes. Both John Wall and Garrett Temple played 30 minutes, Paul Pierce 28, Nene 24, and Gortat 22.

The defense as a whole – starters included – came up huge for Washington against a Knicks team that can light up the scoreboard. The Wizards held the Knicks to just 37 percent shooting from the floor, including 29 percent in the second half. New York also turned the ball over 18 times.

“That’s the kind of defense that we need to play, that we’re capable of playing,” Wittman told reporters. “That’s what propelled us last year and the past couple of games we’ve gotten back to that.”

While the defense shined, the starters did what they needed to against New York.

For the first time this season, Wall was held without a double-double (mostly because he only played 30 minutes). He scored 11 points and had seven assists, including this play where he owned second-year guard Shane Larkin.

Garrett Temple continued his impressive play, as he scored 17 points on 5-of-10 shooting and grabbed five rebounds. He also earned the highest praise from Steve Buckhantz, a dagger!

Pierce is showing that he’s still The Truth. He scored 17 points as well, grabbed five rebounds, dished out three assists, stole two balls and blocked two shots. Gortat and Nene each had six points and seven rebounds.

Tuesday night’s performance was all-around Washington’s best of the young season. The starters should be fresh for tonight’s game at home against the 1-3 Indiana Pacers. And if the bench can contribute like they did last night, ESPN will be showcasing a top-three team in the East to its viewers.

Tip-off from the Verizon Center is set for 8 p.m.

–All stats gathered from

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