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NBA -- Gortat rescues Wizards from Pelicans, 83-80


PhilBoxing.com




CHICAGO -- John Wall and Bradley Beal, one of the NBA's deadliest backcourt duos, missed a combined 15 shots and mustered only 23 points between them as the Washington Wizards produced their lowest output of the season on Saturday night.

But the Wizards somehow escaped with a narrow 83-80 decision at the Verizon Center, thanks to an unlikely hero, center Marcin Gortat, who was stellar on both ends of the floor.

Gortat came to Washington's rescue with 24 points and 13 rebounds. The 6-foot-11, 240-pound bruiser from Poland was also solid on defense, anchoring a resistance that held to Pelicans to just 30 of 81 from the field, a porous 37 percent clip.

"I was in the right spots. I tried to find open space, be productive, be more aggressive and more physical," said the 30-year old Gortat told the Washington Post.

Gortat, a former Magic who helped Orlando march into the 2009 NBA Finals, losing to Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers in five games, made 12 of 20 shots and had four blocks. He also had a pair of assists and two steals in 41 minutes of action.

All-Star Anthony Davis was the only bright spot for New Orleans with 30 points and 13 boards. His dunk with 3:47 left to play gave the Pelicans a 77-76 advantage. But the Wiz held them to three points the rest of the way to hang on with the triumph.

The Pelicans, who owns the league's 5th most efficient offense, was held to only 12 assists while committing 12 turnovers. The Wiz, on the other hand, lathered their offense with 26 dimes and limited their miscues to nine.

The victory thrust the 10-5 Wizards to second place in the Eastern Conference, just 2 1/2 games behind the 13-3 Toronto Raptors, who recently lost All-Star DeMar DeRozan indefinitely due to a torn tendon in the groin.

With their third straight debacle, the Pelicans fell to 7-8 and 10th place in the more competitive Western Conference. (Homer D. Sayson)

Photo: Wizards center Marcin Gortat (middle) powered his way to 24 points and 13 rebounds to help Washington edge the New Orleans Pelicans, 83-80, at the Verizon Center on Saturday night.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Homer D. Sayson.


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