October 21, 2020

Washington Wizards Game Wrap 20: Despite Strong Performances off the Bench, Wizards Lose 102-96 to Lakers

The Washington Wizards (3-17) started off strong against the Los Angeles Lakers (10-14) Friday night, but their sluggish defense proved no match for Kobe Bryant’s 30 points and seven assists as they fell to the Lakers 102-96.

Among the 20,308 in attendance for the sold-out matchup were the Washington Nationals’ newly acquired outfielder Denard Span, former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, and Attorney General Eric Holder, who met with players in the locker room after the game. Nonetheless, while the Lakers fans in attendance reached greater decibels than loyal Washingtonians at the start of the game, the crowd seemed more evenly split later in the night as the Wizards’ offense came to life.

“I’m used to it, I’m used to it,” said Martell Webster of the out-of-town fans after the game. “I saw it in Minnesota, I saw it in Portland. [The fans] showed up, we fed off the energy. It feels good regardless, you got a packed house…They were cheering for us, and there were a lot of cheers for [the Lakers] as well. It felt good, I love the energy.”

Nevertheless, the two teams seemed uncharacteristically on par with each other in more ways than fan turnout.

In the first quarter, the Wizards hit 50 percent of their shots from the field – and the Lakers, just 52.4 percent. Trailing 8-6, the Wizards gave up a three-pointer to Chris Duhon before allowing Dwight Howard to sink a nearly effortless dunk to give the Lakers a seven-point lead. Despite nine turnovers in the quarter, the Wizards entered the second trailing just 27-25.

In a matter of seconds, Cartier Martin tied it up with a three-pointer in the second quarter. He followed through with a layup and-1 before Kevin Seraphin tacked on another two points with a big jam of his own to make it 33-27 Wizards.

Martin went on to tally 12 of his season-high 21 points off the bench in the second quarter alone to keep the Wizards within one possession, trailing 58-55 at the half. He also managed eight rebounds and two steals on the night.

“[Martin] hasn’t come out of nowhere, he’s been struggling a little bit,” said head coach Randy Wittman after the game. “He came out tonight and made it. I’ve got confidence in these guys. With [Ariza] out, he’s getting minutes. And, you just base those minutes on how the game’s flowing.”

After Webster started things off again with a three-pointer, the Lakers went on a 10-0 run to regain the lead, 68-58.

With the Wizards down 76-64, Kobe Bryant drove for a layup with Webster on his tail, but as Webster tried to defend the shot, instead, he mistakenly tipped it in, ensuring two more points for the Lakers.

After chipping away at the Lakers’ lead to trail by just 88-79, Webster made up for the tip-in by finishing a monster alley-oop worthy of this week’s top-ten highlight reel. With the crowd still on its feet, the Lakers called a timeout to slow the Wizards who were back within seven points.

With just over 5:30 left in the game, Nene sunk two free throws to bring the Wizards back within a possession. However, Dwight Howard tacked on another two points for the Lakers, who seemed to have better luck earning officiating calls than Washington.

No call seemed more questionable than Webster’s shooting foul with 4:45 remaining. The replay revealed that Webster never even came into contact with Bryant, who earned – and made – all three of the foul shouts he received to put the Lakers up 97-89.

The damage proved too much to overcome as the Wizards never again trailed by fewer than six points.

Coming off Friday’s 102-96 loss, they face no easy task as they take on the Heat in Miami Saturday night.

 

Washington Wizards Game Wrap 7: After 107-101 Loss to Mavericks, Winless Wizards Stand Alone

The Washington Wizards (0-7) rallied in the fourth quarter in time to pull within three points of the Dallas Mavericks (5-4) with little more than 20 seconds left to play, but they failed to catch the team, which made a mockery of Washington’s defense in the first half.

As it turns out, misery doesn’t always love company. After the Detroit Pistons managed a win earlier Wednesday night, the Wizards were officially dealt the honor of being the last remaining winless team in the NBA. A loss to the Utah Jazz on Saturday would mean Washington, at the very least, will tie last year’s 0-8 record to start the season.

It wasn’t all bad for the victory-starved Wizards. Jordan Crawford led the squad with 21 points – 17 of which were in the second half – and seven assists, but the Mavericks could have – and should have – run away with the win early on, had they not fallen apart for a large portion of the second half.

There was parity between the two teams at the start of the game. For every shot the Mavericks’ Chris Kaman tallied, A.J. Price or Bradley Beal had an answer, and when the clock ran out at the end of the first, the Wizards were down by only four points.

In the second quarter, however, things became downright embarrassing for the Wizards’ defense, which was virtually nonexistent. The Mavericks managed a whopping 40 points in the quarter, breaking their previous record of 37 for any quarter this season. And, while O.J. Mayo and Darren Collison did little to present the Wizards with opportunities, Washington, yet again, missed wide open shots and handed the Mavericks free throw opportunities, which hurt them in the long run.

The Wizards simply lacked the capacity to deliver with consistency – and it proved costly in their failure to regain a lead after entering the second half, trailing by 18.

That isn’t to say they didn’t put forth a rather uncharacteristically valiant effort.

As if things weren’t bad enough for the Wizards, who continue to count the days until John Wall and Nene return, Wall’s backup – A.J. Price – left the game just a minute into the third quarter after rolling his ankle.

But, the bad luck didn’t stop there.

After trailing by as many as 22 points in the third quarter, the Wizards went on a 15-0 tear, thanks in part to a pair of three-pointers from Jordan Crawford. Of all the Wizards to spark a full-blown rally, Cartier Martin stepped in with back-to-back shots from behind the arc to pull the Wizards within three of the Mavs. He had further help from Kevin Seraphin, who posted 14 points in the quarter.

The Martin-Seraphin duo kept it close for the Wizards and, with just over 20 seconds left of play, Washington trailed by only three after Martin sunk yet another three-pointer to make it 104-101 Mavericks.

However, it was Kaman’s night to emerge the hero of the game, which marked only his second start for the Mavericks.

Kaman found the net once more to make it 106-101 Mavericks, and drew a foul off Jan Vesely to add salt to Washington’s wounds with less than 10 seconds left.

Needless to say, despite having shot 48.1% from the field, the Wizards will return to Washington without a win to their name.

 

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