The Washington Wizards lost their Bullets nickname in 1997.
On Wednesday night, Washington opted for heavier artillery: three-point bombs.
The Wizards drilled a franchise-record 18 triples in their 116-102 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. Six different players hit at least one three for Washington, including a career-high five from John Wall and four more by reserve forward Martell Webster.
No, that isn't a misprint. Wall, a career 25.8 percent three-point shooter, shot 5-of-8 from beyond the arc to lead the Wizards to their first win of 2013-14:
John Wall hit five three-pointers last night. He had just 12 *ALL* of last season. #Wizards— J.E. Skeets (@jeskeets) November 7, 2013
Crazier still is the fact that 2012-13 was actually a bounce-back season for Wall's three-point shooting. In 2011-12, he was a woeful 3-of-42 from downtown.
Bizarre doesn't begin to describe this box score.
The Wizards shot a good-not-great 36.5 percent from three last season (10th in the NBA) and averaged only 6.6 triples a night (18th). On Wednesday, though, Washington connected on 18 of its 33 attempts (54.5 percent) from three-point land. The team actually shot better beyond the arc than it did inside of it (43.9 percent from the field).
Resident sniper Bradley Beal (3-of-9) brought down the team's percentage. A hired gun with one of the smoothest strokes of the 2012 rookie class, he played the role of distributor and dished out a career-best eight assists.
There was a steady stream of double takes throughout the contest:
Another John Wall 3 ball? When did he become Steph Curry? JW is 4-6 from long distance & he's going splash every time #wizards— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) November 7, 2013
While Wall's three-point barrage might have caught the hoops world off guard, at least one person saw it coming. "He was screaming that on his way in, he might just keep bombing up threes," Beal said of Wall following the game, via Michael Lee of The Washington Post.
This season hasn't gone the way that the playoff-hopeful Wizards had scripted it, but this was an intriguing addition to the first chapter of Washington's 2013-14 narrative.