July 28, 2017

Washington Wizards Game 82 Recap: On eve of organization turnover, Wiz get to .500 in win over Hawks

The end of the regular season is finally here. The Washington Wizards came into their season finale against the Atlanta Hawks with nothing to play for besides pride and a .500 record to end the year. Randy Wittman, reported to be relieved of his duties soon, believes the team (of those that will be available) is ready to play. The reserves that did play certainly played hard and seemed to play with more energy and hustle than an Atlanta team that had something to play for. Ramon Sessions led the way with 22 points as Washington headed into the offseason on a slight positive note. The Wizards finished the season 41-41 after a 109-98 victory over the Hawks.

After a game of zero defense in Brooklyn, that trend looked to continue for Washington as they were able to score at will without getting stops on the other end. With the majority of Wizards starters sitting, all except Otto PorterNene took advantage of starting with eight first quarter points on four of five shooting. Tim Hardaway continued to be a thorn in Washington’s side by making his first three shots, all of which were from beyond the arc. At the end of the final first quarter of the season, things were tied at 33 as the Verizon Center faithful were deprived of one last Egg McMuffin.

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Washington Wizards Game 78 Recap: Without Wall, Wiz take care of business against the Nets

Fresh off of a five-game West coast road trip, the Washington Wizards returned home without the services of the All-Star point guard as John Wall sat with a sore right knee. Many fans thought Wall’s absence would be the ultimate, and fitting, dagger in the Wizards season but his teammates took care of business without him. Brooklyn was short staffed without Jarrett Jack, Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young and it showed. Once the home team cleaned up some turnovers, possibly a result of Wall not running the show, the Wizards had their way with the nets. Although playoff odds are slim, Washington took care of business with a 121-103 victory.

(Photo by: Getty Images)

(Photo by: Getty Images)

Washington seemed unphased by the loss of their leader to start the game as they opened things up with a quick 9-0 advantage with Bradley Beal and Otto Porter aggressively looking for their shot. By the midway point of the first quarter, Randy Wittman was forced to call timeout as the Nets went on an extended 17-8 run to tie things up. The home team would end the quarter on a 10-2 run as Ramon Sessions was looking to play himself into a nice contract with 7 points and five dimes in the first twelve minutes of play. DC got their free Egg McMuffin as the Wizards led 30-23 after one.

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Washington Wizards Game 72 Recap: Wiz blow lead in regular and first OT, lose to T-Wolves in double OT

If the Washington Wizards are not able to squeak into the playoffs, they will have no one but themselves to blame with their roller coaster inconsistency. After playing a complete game in Atlanta, the Wizards reverted back to poor perimeter defense at home against the Hawks. In a game where defense was optional, Washington looked like it might be able to hang out up 8 with a bit more than two minutes to play. They blew that lead, missed a game-winning attempt in regular and repeated the same in the first overtime session. In the second they missed a potential game-tying shot and fell 132-129 at home to Minnesota. Their shots at making the playoffs become nearly non-existant now.

(Photo by: Jeffrey Becker/ USA Today Sports)

(Photo by: Jeffrey Becker/ USA Today Sports)

Number one overall pick Karl Anthony-Towns showed the DC area why he is the odds on favorite to win rookie of the year this season. The Kentucky product started the game by making his first four shots when matched up with Markieff Morris. In a suprise move in the bench rotation, recently signed guard Marcus Thornton entered the game before Garrett Temple fresh off of his 23 point performance. While changes were being made in the backcourt, Jared Dudley returned to his shooting form from earlier in the year by hitting three consecutive jumpers including two from beyond the arc. At the end of twelve minutes of play Washington led 29-27.

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Washington Wizards Game 71 Recap: Wiz embarrassed by Hawks, fail to get above .500 for first time in four months

(Photo by: @BulletsForever)

(Photo by: @BulletsForever)

Head coach Randy Wittman attributed the recent five-game winning streak and better offense to “making the simple plays” and not turning the ball over too much. Two days removed from cruising by the Hawks in Atlanta, the Washington Wizards were looking to continue the momentum on their home court. After a pleasant start the game, Washington’s lack of perimeter defense caught up with the home team in the fourth quarter as the Hawks had a season-high 17 3-pointers. As a result the Wizards got blown out 122-101 and have still failed to get above .500 since November 24.

It was again the road team that got off to the fast start, but Washington quickly nipped that in the backside with a 12-0 run of their own. After taking just two shots two night ago, Kyle Korver made an immediate impact for Atlanta tonight by draining his first two 3-point attempts. Washington got a 25-15 lead midway through the first behind John Wall’s five assists in the game’s first six minutes. The Hawks made their run while Washington went scoreless over the final four minutes, but after one period the Wizards led 25-22.

Extending back into the first quarter, Atlanta was on a 16-3 run that gave them a three point advantage early in the second quarter. With five ties and six lead changes in the quarter alone, a back and forth pace ensued. The Hawks attempted a whopping 22 3-pointers in the half, many of which were open, but luckily only eight went through otherwise Washington would have been in big trouble. With Garrett Temple on the bench with two fouls and Alan Anderson continuing to deal with an ankle injury, the home squad got an unexpected lift from mid-season pick up Marcus Thornton who had six points in the quarter. Finishing the quarter on a 7-0 run, Washington had a 56-52 lead at intermission.

Markieff Morris hit a couple of jump shots to pace the Wizards early, but the home team could not increase their lead to more than four points. Towards the end of the quarter, the Hawks rattled off a 12-0 run while Bradley Beal was on the bench. Thornton hit a much needed 3-pointer to stop the bleeding monetarily but the Wizards went into the final quarter down 81-75.

The torture continued in the fourth quarter as sloppy offense and turnovers saw the deficit ballooned to 17 with Atlanta going on an 11-0 run. Every time the Wizards seemed to have an answer, whether it be a Thornton or Morris 3-pointer, the Hawks came back and hit one of their own. The road team shot seven of twelve from beyond the arc in the final quarter and things were ugly for a team that is supposedly fighting for their playoff lives. The last two minutes of play highlighted garbage time play from Kelly Oubre Jr. and the Wizards fell 122-101.

Before heading out on a five-game West Coast road trip, the Wizards will welcome the Minnesota Timberwolves for a Friday night showdown.

Washington Wizards Game 67 Recap: Wiz continue to roll at home, move closer to playoffs with win over Bulls

(Photo by: @Wizards)

(Photo by: @Wizards)

The Washington Wizards are probably more unpredictable than a roller coaster or the stock market. Fresh off a five-game losing streak and with an early offseason in sight, Washington had their best offensive performance of the game against the Detroit Pistons. They had another opportunity to secure a tiebreak over a playoff contender when hosting the Chicago Bulls. For the third time this season, and sixth in his career, John Wall recorded a triple-double as he schooled the visitors when in the game with a team-best +38. Washington won their eighth home game of the last nine opportunities in convincing fashion 117-96.

An efficient offensive showing carried over from Monday night even after Marcin Gortat (lower back) was unable to start. Nene, inserted into the starting lineup as a result, was in the middle of Washington’s ball movement with several hockey assists. On 6 of 11 shooting, while holding the Bulls to just 2 of 7 to start, the Wizards took a 16-6 lead. After Chicago cut the Washington lead to three with a 7-0 run, the home team responded right back with a 10-0 run of their own. The Bulls made their last four shots of the quarter and cut the Wizards game-high lead of 14 in half, but the DC franchise still held a 32-25 advantage after twelve minutes of play.

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Washington Wizards Game 65 Recap: Wiz falling apart at the worst time with loss to Nuggets

The Washington Wizards blew an opportunity to upset the red-hot Portland Trail Blazers and then got embarrassed against a bad Utah Jazz team last night. Hoping to save face to end the West Coast road trip, the Wizards faced off against the Denver Nuggets on the second night of a back-to-back. Whether it was tired legs, a lack of defensive effort, questionable lineups, or all of the above, Washington imploded in the fourth quarter. John Wall admirably played the entire second half but the Wizards were beaten 41-17 in the final frame on their way to a 116-100 loss.

(Photo by: @BulletsForever)

(Photo by: @BulletsForever)

It was deja vu to start the game as Marcin Gortat again had to exit the first quarter early with two personal fouls, tonight with 8:32 remaining. Today Nene brought a nice physical presence of the bench matching up with Nikola Jokic. Washington went on a 12-4 run thanks to back-to-back 3-pointers from Garrett Temple, still in the starting lineup with Bradley Beal out with a sprained pelvis. As if the DMV needed anymore reason to dislike the Michigan State Spartans, Gary Harris had 10 quarter points that led an 8-0 Denver run. As a result the Wizards trailed 27-23 thanks to three missed layups.

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Washington Wizards Game 61 Recap: Cavs blow out the Wiz who fail to get over .500 hump, again

When the Cleveland Cavaliers visited the Washington Wizards last Sunday, it was no contest with LeBron James getting the day off. Tonight the defending Eastern Conference champions had another member of their “Big Three” sit with Kevin Love sitting. Washington kept things competitive in the first quarter on national television but it was no contest the rest of the way. Cleveland got a balanced scoring performance with six players in double figures while Washington saw players not named John Wall shot 36.9 percent from the floor. Washington has not been over the .500 mark since two games before Thanksgiving on November 24th and that streak continued tonight with a 108-83 loss.

It was an evenly matched game early on as both teams missed their first three shots each before the game being tied at 6 apiece with 7:33 left in the quarter. Bradley Beal came into the game for a struggling Garrett Temple, but immediately committed back-to-back turnovers leading to run out James dunks. As a part of Cleveland’s 8-0 run, Randy Wittman burned a timeout when Washington got down 16-7. While John Wall sat with two personal fouls, Beal attempted to make up for his early woes with eight points in the quarter including two from beyond the arc. Kyrie Irving had eight points of his own which secured the Cavaliers 27-23 lead after one quarter of play.

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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 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 37 Recap: Wiz use strong fourth quarter to top Bucks in Beal’s return

BEAL RETURNS AFTER MISSING 16 GAMES, SCORES 11 POINTS

(Photo by: Sports Quotient)

(Photo by: Sports Quotient)

If you have figured out the Washington Wizards this season, then you might just deserve to win the $1.5 billion Powerball jackpot. Washington was in jeopardy of falling five games below .500 for the first time since Nov. 16, 2013 before rattling off back-to-back wins after knocking off the Milwaukee Bucks 106-101.

The latter was a dominant performance against the Chicago Bulls, the second best team in the conference, without Marcin Gortat (knee inflammation).

Bradley Beal played for the first time since Dec. 9 after dealing with another stress reaction in his right leg. The former Florida Gator came off the bench and entered for the first time at the 3:29 mark of the first quarter. Beal made a comment before the game that he might look to limit his minutes to 35 each game throughout his career. In his first eight minutes of action, Beal was a perfect 3 of 3 from the field for seven points as well as chipping in a couple rebounds and assists. For Washington as whole, defensive intensity led to efficient offense as they capitalized off of 27 Bucks turnovers with 36 points.

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