February 12, 2016

Washington Wizards Game 51 Recap: Wiz fail to sweep the Bucks, head into the All-Star Break on low note

The Washington Wizards have been more volatile than the stock market this season. After giving up a 19-point lead to the Charlotte Hornets, the Wizards narrowly hung on to beat the New York Knicks. Clearly the first half of the season has not gone the way they intended; that goes for the Milwaukee Bucks as well. Milwaukee had dropped five straight games before just getting by the hot Boston Celtics.

Things were off to a promising start, but Washington had their required terrible quarter (this time in the second). The Wizards fought their way back in the third quarter but they were unable to execute down the stretch and fell 99-92.

John Wall has been playing at an elite level over the past four games and that continued into the early goings of tonight’s game. Wall had four assists, three to Marcin Gortat off the pick and roll, and a 3-pointer to be involved in all of Washington’s first 12 points. Jason Kidd called timeout to stop Washington’s 14-6 run to start the game. Randy Wittman was happy with the active defense early that forced the Bucks into 4 of 17 shooting to start the game. Washington had assists on each of their first 11 field goals in the first quarter which gave them a 27-18 lead after twelve minutes of play.

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Washington Wizards Game 49 Recap: Wiz with another epic meltdown against the Hornets

WALL, BEAL AND PORTER ALL SCORE 20-PLUS, BUT TEAM BLOWS 19-POINT LEAD

(Photo by: @NBA)

(Photo by: @NBA)

The Washington Wizards took care of business against the woeful Philadelphia 76ers Friday night before taking the red-eye down to Charlotte. With Bradley Beal still limited after returning from the beginnings of a stress reaction injury, he did not start against the Hornets because of the back-to-back set. In somewhat typical fashion, Washington blew a 19-point first half lead. Even with the Wizards getting 20 or more from John Wall, Beal, and Otto Porter Jr., they did not get a victory. Terrible defense in the second half meant Charlotte came away with another stolen victory, 108-104.

Jared Dudley, who was “disappointed” for not being selected to participate in the 3-point shooting contest, was on absolute fire to start the game for Washington. The stretch-four specialist made all four of his jump shots, including two 3-pointers, for 10 points in the first quarter. Washington got out to a 14-6 advantage, but Charlotte evened things up with an 11-2 run midway through the quarter. Marvin Williams paced the Hornets with eight points as both teams scored 25 point at the end of one.

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Washington Wizards Game 48 Recap: Much needed pick me up win gained against woeful 76ers

WALL GOES FOR 4th CAREER TRIPLE-DOUBLE WITH CAREER HIGH IN REBOUNDS

(Photo by: @NBA)

(Photo by: @NBA)

The Washington Wizards were beaten by double-digits at home against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, but there was some positives to take away. Then interim head coach Don Newman told the players after the loss that they will be successful if they play “like this and put it on the floor.” John Wall agreed by saying Washington would win 10 out of 10 games, since they won’t play the Warriors again, if they play with the energy they did. For the first time Dec. 9, Bradley Beal returned to the Wizards starting lineup.

Washington got off to a great start in the first quarter to take a commanding 20-point lead behind their best offensive performance to start a game. From there they hardly looked back, although they allowed Philadelphia to get back within single digits during a turnover filled stretch. Behind John Wall’s fourth career triple-double performance including a career high 13 rebounds, the Wizards cruised to a 106-94 victory.

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Washington Wizards Game 47 Recap: Reigning MVP Stephen Curry too much for Wiz even with John Wall playing his best

The defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors made their annual visit to the Nation’s capital tonight. In what seemed like an impossible matchup for the Washington Wizards, who have struggled to enter the playoff picture, John Wall was confident that the home team would have a chance if they started playing defense. Wall and company expected a “road game” atmosphere with the large influx of fans trying to see Stephen Curry play, similarly to Kobe Bryant‘s last hurrah in DC, but it was more that DC natives were simply in awe with the reigning MVP’s greatness.

It was indeed the Steph Curry show early as the shooting phenom lit up the first quarter with 25 points including seven circus 3-pointers. For all of their faults, the Wizards fought back to shrink a 15 point down to a single bucket. DC’s point guard finished the game with a season-high 41 points to go along with 10 assists, but will likely be be overshadowed by Curry (51 points, 7 rebounds, career-high tying 11 3-pointers) because of the outcome. Washington did not make enough layups or come up with enough stops late to be competitive as they well 134-121 in front of a capacity crowd.

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Washington Wizards Game 46 Recap: Wiz get down early and show little life on defense against Thunder

The Washington Wizards’ roster played their hearts out on Saturday night when they beat the Houston Rockets in thrilling fashion to pay tribute to Coach Randy Wittman’s older brother, Rick, who passed away, unexpectedly, earlier that day. While Randy Wittman fought through an emotional day on Saturday to stay with the team and coach, he will be taking a leave of absence that started tonight against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Assistant Don Newman will take over the lead responsibilities over the two game span.

(Photo by: @NBA)

(Photo by: @NBA)

Things were certainly a shootout to start, but then just turned into Oklahoma City making it rain much longer than Washington sustained. Getting down as many as 15 points early in the second quarter put up an impossible obstacle for the Wizards, who simply showed little defensive presence. In less than three quarters of work, Russell Westbrook had himself a triple-double and each of Kevin Durant’s 28 points were daggers to the hearts of all DC sports fans. Getting outrebounded 53-27 over the course of the game was the only stat anybody who did not watch the miserable game needed to know. By the end of the agony, Washington got set to return home following a 114-98 thumping.

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Washington Wizards Game 44 Review: Wiz drop another close one at home

JOHN WALL NAMED ALL-STAR AS WIZARDS LOSE THIRD IN A ROW AND FIFTH OF SIX

Danilo Gallinari scored 26 points, including four 3-pointers, and the Denver Nuggets held off the Washington Wizards 117-113 on Thursday night at Verizon Center.

The Nuggets made 50 percent (9 of 18) from beyond the arc, handing the Wizards yet another close loss at home. Emmanuel Mudiay scored 20 points, Nikola Jokic had 15 points with 10 rebounds, and Will Barton added 15.

The Wizards (20-24) were led by Garrett Temple with 20 points. John Wall had 17 points with nine assists and seven rebounds, Bradley Beal had 17 points, and Nene added 15 points and seven boards. Marcin Gortat finished with had 12 points and 10 rebounds, his 22nd double-double of the season.

Denver started with a 10-2 run right off the opening tip and the Wizards were forced to play catch-up all night long.

The Wizards erased a 12-point deficit to start the fourth quarter, but just couldn’t finish.

Down 91-79 to start the fourth quarter, Washington used an 8-2 run to close to within six at 93-87 with 10:45 left on Jared Dudley’s running layup. A six-point spurt, capped by Dudley’s jumper with 7:34 to go cut it to two, 97-95, and Ramon Sessions’ 3-point play with 5:41 left tied it at 99.

But Gallinari responded on the next possession with a 3-pointer, and a few moments later got loose for another one.

A 3 by Temple, and 1 of 2 at the line from Wall, made it a two-point game again with 1:53. But Gallinari hit a fadeaway and Mudiay hit a pair from the line to make it 111-105.

Beal’s free throws with 12.5 seconds to go cut it to four at 113-109, but Gallinari and Barton both made a pair from the line and the Wizards ran out of time.

Coach Randy Wittman asked and answered his own questions at the press conference afterward.

“What was it 10-2 a minute and a half in? Coming out of the locker room we lost it. We dig ourselves a hole before we come out and playing the way we’re capable of defensively. We are down 18 and come all the way back, or down 11 and come all the way back and we are waiting until the point of being embarrassed before we start playing hard from a defensive standpoint. We aren’t going to outscore anybody and until we take playing defense as first priority, were going to continue having nights like this.”

Beal lamented the wasted comeback.

“It’s always tough, we spend a great amount of energy coming back but it’s unfortunate because you just run out of gas and you spend all your time, energy, and focus on getting back from being down by 18 but we shouldn’t have been in that position from the get-go.”

NEXT GAME: Saturday at Houston at 8 p.m. Eastern

Washington Wizards Game 43 Recap: Wiz comeback in first half just to drop the ball in second against Raptors

More than halfway through the season the Washington Wizards are an anomaly in the league with their rather unwatchable performances at home. After getting swept in the regular season matchup with the Boston Celtics, they had to jump on a red eye to Toronto, clear customs, and get ready to play the second leg of a back-to-back. All of this without Bradley Beal who suffered a broken nose and will begin the concussion protocol after an incidental forearm to the face from Marcus Smart.

With Nene starting for the third straight game alongside Marcin Gortat, it was clear that the Wizards spacing was far from ideal. This contributed to John Wall committing a game-high five turnovers and Washington having poor offensive performances in the first and third quarters. After coming back from 14 points down in the first half, the Wizards were non-existent offensively (literally) in the fourth quarter resulting in their second straight blowout loss. Injuries have a lot to do with their struggles this season, but there may be serious management and coaching changes even before the season ends if things do not pick up soon. Washington got blown out for the second straight night; this time 106-89 to the streaking Raptors.

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Washington Wizards Game 42 Recap: Celtics complete season sweep against self-destructing Wiz

Courtesy of Winter Storm Jonas that dumped around two feet of snow across the Greater Metropolitan area, the Washington Wizards were forced to postpone their home game with the Utah Jazz. Unlike their compadre Washington Capitals who had to postpone two games, the Wizards were able to get in their Monday night matchup with the Boston Celtics.

(Photo by: @celtics)

(Photo by: @celtics)

You would not have known that it was Washington that had a four game break and Boston playing the back end of a road back-to-back by the way things turned out. Isaiah Thomas scored a game high 23 points and chipped in with nine assists in just 28 minutes of play while the Wizards self-destructed with 20 turnovers. Washington was swept in the season series as they suffered yet another blowout loss to the 17 time-world champion Celtics 116-91.

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Washington Wizards Game 39 Recap: Wiz cannot get the Celtics monkey off their back as they fall in a heart breaker

(Photo by: @Wizards)

(Photo by: @Wizards)

So far the Washington Wizards have not had pleasant experiences at TD Garden arena at the hands of the Boston Celtics. Both matchups have resulted in Washington digging themselves an early hole on their way to 20 and 33 point losses. To start a five game home stand, the Wizards continued to force turnovers to start the game then it was simply John Wall takeover time as the point guard went off for a season-high 36 points. Unfortunately that was not enough for Washington as Isiah Thomas and Jae Crowder combined for 54 points. In a chaotic final minute, the Wizards fell 119-117 to see their four-game winning streak snapped.

Boston was on fire to start the game by shooting five of six from the field including three makes from beyond the arc. Washington would respond with a 17-4 run by scoring on 12 of 15 possessions. Much to their recent track record, the Wizards forced their opponent into early turnover problems and converted in transition. Boston had seven first quarter turnovers that Washington cashed in for 10 points. Unlike early in the year where they trailed 40-25 and 28-19 after one quarter, the Wizards held a 31-24 advantage after twelve minutes of play.

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Washington Wizards Game 38 Recap: House of Guards return to form as Wiz top Pacers

The Washington Wizards are back to playing the brand of basketball that makes Randy Wittman happy. The defensive intensity has picked up, to a tune of 58 forced turnovers during the current three-game winning streak, and they have allowed that to turn into efficient offense by scoring 73 points off said turnovers. Going into Friday, the Wizards have 15 more games until the all star break in mid-February, when they are likely to be fully healthy — barring any further injury. Although currently the 12th seed in the Eastern Conference, they are only one game back of the eighth seeded Magic.

 Without two regular starters, Marcin Gortat (knee inflammation) and Otto Porter (hip), you might think the Pacers would run Washington out of the building with the shooting that set Verizon Center on fire before Thanksgiving. While the Pacers shot a miserable 17.6 percent (3 of 17) from beyond the arc, the House of Guards performance that fans expected all year returned. John Wall and Bradley Beal combined for 50 points on 36 field goal attempts as well as 12 rebounds and 9 assists. Washington got 69 points off the bench as they cruised in the second half with a 118-104 victory over the Indiana Pacers.

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