April 19, 2014

Washington Wizards Game 34 Recap: Wiz reach new lows in 93-66 loss to Pacers

It seems whatever luck the Washington Wizards clung to on the road early this season has disappeared. Quickly.

In fact, the Wizards managed to post the lowest point total in the NBA this season in Friday night’s 93-66 loss to the Indiana Pacers. Only Bradley Beal, John Wall and Nene recorded double-digit points for Washington and, of the Wizards’ starting five, Trevor Ariza, Trevor Booker and Marcin Gortat combined for just 14 points on the night.

The Pacers, meanwhile, had an absolute field day. Indiana outrebounded Washington 61-41 to record a season-high on the boards. Five Pacers posted double-digit points and Lance Stephenson recorded his eighth double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Despite the Wizards’ poor offense, Washington kept Indiana in check through the first quarter. Nene followed a Martell Webster jumper with a timely hook shot to help the Wizards match the Pacers’ 18-18 through 12 minutes.

By halfway through the second quarter, however, things began to fall apart for the 16-18 Wizards. The Pacers’ C. J. Watson and Roy Hibbert hit back-to-back threes to make it 34-26 Indiana with just under six minutes remaining in the half.

The Wizards bounced back to pull back within three, but their inability to sink free throws hurt them as the Pacers ended the half up 45-37.

And, in the second half, the Wizards flat-lined.

David West capitalized on the Wizards’ misfortunes with one basket after another in the third quarter, including a dunk just five minutes in to bring the Pacers to a quick 16-point lead. Indiana tacked on two more when Paul George one-upped West with a monster dunk of his own.

In the fourth quarter, Beal hit a three and Nene added a jumper to trim the Pacers’ lead to 12. Unfortunately, the Wizards didn’t make another basket until Kevin Seraphin made a running hook shot with just 49.8 seconds left to play.

As such, Washington scored just 29 total points in the second half, compared to Indiana’s 48. The Wizards also posted a season low field goal percentage of 32.1 after shooting 26-81 on the night. To build a list of new season lows, Washington also recorded just 13 assists and shot 9-23 for a dismal 39.1 free throw percentage.

Washington Wizards Game 16 Review: Injuries continue to plague Wizards in loss to Pacers

With the Indiana Pacers’ red-hot shooting, the Washington Wizards could afford none of the 18 turnovers they committed in Friday night’s 93-73 loss at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Add to that, the Wizards were without Nene who continued to nurse a sore right Achilles tendon.

Whether it should be credited to Indiana’s defense or Washington’s offensive woes, John Wall struggled to knock down shots all night. Wall tallied just eight points on the evening and went 4-of-14 shooting.

Marcin Gortat and Trevor Ariza led the Wizards’ efforts with 17 and 14 points respectively, but Washington never gained enough steam.

With 3:56 remaining in the first quarter, Gortat’s layup brought the Wizards within two, trailing 16-14. For the remainder of the quarter, however, Washington failed to make a basket. Not surprisingly, Indiana ran with the opportunity, adding a three-point shot from Solomon Hill and a layup from C.J. Watson to cruise to a 28-14 lead into the second quarter. [Read more...]

Washington Wizards Game Wrap 30: Wizards Rack up Costly Turnovers in 89-81 Loss to Pacers

Despite battling back from a 17-point hole, the Washington Wizards (4-26) never once enjoyed a lead against Paul George and the Indiana Pacers (19-13) in their 89-81 loss at Bankers Life Fieldhouse Wednesday night.

George’s 29 points fell just four shy of the 33 posted by the Wizards’ entire starting five. He also tallied 14 rebounds and three assists on the night against a Wizards roster that has managed only one road win thus far this season.

Both Garrett Temple and Martell Webster failed to score a single point in 22 and 14 minutes of play respectively. Even more, not a single member of Washington’s starting lineup obtained a plus/minus in the positive range.

Despite the gruesome box score figures, it should be noted the Wizards showed resolve.

Jordan Crawford posted 20 points, seven assists and four rebounds against the Pacers and kicked off Washington’s 7-0 run to start the second quarter.

From then on, the Wizards held within eight points of the Pacers until just under four minutes before the half. Then, George answered for Indiana with his own personal 7-0 rout to give the Pacers a 10-point lead before Crawford’s layup made it 47-39 Indiana.

Neither team scored in the final 2:55 seconds of the quarter, which featured its fair share of turnovers and yet another offensive goaltending turnover by the Wizards.

Within the first four minutes of the third quarter, Bradley Beal’s layup pulled the Wizards within two points of catching the Pacers, but Washington closed out the quarter down 67-58.

Washington trailed by as many as 13 points well into the fourth quarter, until Shelvin Mack’s driving layup with 7:22 remaining sparked an unprecedented rally by the Wizards.

Crawford’s three free throws and Nene’s shot in the paint trimmed Washington’s deficit to 81-73.

With little over a minute to go, Beal started his own eight-point run, complete with a 28-foot three pointer to make it 85-81 Pacers.

However, the Pacers were perfect from the line in the final seconds of the game, as Indiana closed the book on the Wizards with a final score of 89-81.

Washington Wizards Game Wrap 9: With 96-89 Loss to Pacers, Winless Wizards Set Franchise Record with 0-9 Start to Season

The Washington Wizards (0-9) provided an all-too-familiar song and dance Monday night as the winless team fell once again, this time to a final score of 96-89 in their second matchup against the Indiana Pacers (5-7) this season.

Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 18 points, two rebounds and two blocks, but his performance couldn’t hold a candle to the 30 points, eight rebounds and four blocks put forth by Pacers power forward David West against a wildly inconsistent Wizards defense.

It probably didn’t help matters for the Wizards when, at tipoff, it looked as though would-be attendees had already fled the city for the Thanksgiving holiday.

In less than four minutes into the first quarter, however, those who turned out for the game made their voices heard. Once the Pacers managed an early 13-4 run against a nonexistent Wizards defense, the boo-birds came out in full force. And, it quickly became all too clear why, as the Wizards appeared to chase around the ball as though they had no defensive strategy for the first half.

“When you get off to a start like that, I mean, it kind of ruins the energy of the team,” Beal said after the game. “It seems like, ‘Wow, we’re down so much already.’ But, like I said before, the thing I like about this team is we don’t give up, we keep battling, we keep competing.”

Despite closing the first quarter down 28-13, the Wizards began to show signs of life as the game progressed.

In the second quarter, Washington managed to do something they couldn’t in their last meeting with the Pacers – they drew foul shots. More importantly, they managed to sink 11 of them in the second quarter alone – after going just five-for-seven from the free throw line in their Nov. 10 matchup. To add to that, Jordan Crawford had nine points in the quarter, along with A.J. Price’s eight and Kevin Seraphin’s seven, and the Wizards closed out the half trailing just 50-41.

Despite the dismal outcome of Monday night’s game, at the very least, Wizards fans found temporary solace in knowing their team put forth a competitive effort – even more-so than they had in earlier games this season.

With just over five minutes left in the third, the Wizards managed to fall behind by 20 points as Ian Mahinmi effortlessly floated one past Jan Vesely as though he weren’t standing directly in front of him, attempting to block the shot.

Shortly after, Wizards coach Randy Wittman called upon Shaun Livingston and Chris Singleton.

Hardly five days after the Wizards signed Livingston, he became one of the key faces behind yet another all-too-late rally by the team. During Monday night’s matchup, Livingston saw more than 24 minutes of playing time – largely because he earned the right to remain on the court, and partly because Wittman simply ran out of options.

However, he and Chris Singleton provided what the Wizards needed most – the energy to tackle a 20-point deficit head-on. Along with Bradley Beal, the seemingly dynamic duo helped spark an 18-2 run to allow the Wizards to finish the third quarter trailing just 71-67.

But, inconsistency was the name of the game Monday night.

With just 3:30 left in the game, the Pacers narrowly held onto an 86-85 lead. However, Livingston and Seraphin missed key opportunities, while West and Roy Hibbert wasted little time tacking on points for the Pacers. Needless to say, when all was said and done, the Wizards’ second-half rally fell short, allowing them to set a new franchise record with nine consecutive losses to start the season.

While all but Cartier Martin saw game action Monday night for Washington, it became clear that Wittman and his Wizards currently lack the formula they need to establish consistent roles on the squad.

“I don’t know who to start, who to play, who not to play,” Wittman said after the game. “It’s the confusion of different guys every game – whether starters or bench, bench or starters. We have no consistency in our group of play. To get off to a start like we did tonight, there’s no excuse.

“I’d love to have an eight- or nine-man rotation – that’s my dream,” he later added. “Now, I’m playing 12 or 13 every night – you can’t do that in an NBA game.”

With matchups against the Hawks, Bobcats, Spurs and Trail Blazers in the days ahead, there are no clear-cut answers for when the Wizards will write their first win in the books. Nevertheless, it’s unlikely they’ll get to that point soon without establishing a cohesive roster.

Washington Wizards wilt down the stretch again, fall to Pacers 93-89

On Thursday night, the Washington Wizards lost a close contest to the Indiana Pacers on the road, 93-89.

For seemingly the umpteenth time this season, the Wizards lost a game they could have won. Even though they were competitive and stayed neck-and-neck with the Pacers until the very end, Thursday’s loss hurt.

Once again, the Wizards were able to build a lead after the half, only to lose late down the stretch. Washington was up 68-60 with a little more than four minutes left into the third quarter; however, Indiana went on a 12-4 run thereafter, rallied, finished the period up 72-69 and then controlled the fourth quarter.

Although the Wizards tied the game at 76 with 8:11 remaining off of two Nene three throws, they valiantly hung on, but never regained the edge. They could not stop the Pacers despite only trailing at one point in the fourth quarter by no more than five points.

Sadly, the Wizards made some mistakes down the stretch, and a turnover with a little more than 30 seconds left in the game by John Wall crippled them.

The Wizards trailed 91-89 seconds left off a Nene dunk, but they sent the Pacer’s Darren Collison to the foul line with eight seconds left. He hit both of his free throws to put Indiana up 93-89, and by then, the game was over for Washington.

Again, the inability to close out games for Washington cost them another potential victory.

After the game, Wizards’ interim coach Randy Wittman spoke about his team’s effort, but also stated what they have to do to end up in the win column.

“You have to make simple, simple plays down the stretch. It might sound trivial or fundamental, but it has to be the easiest play you can make down the stretch and if it’s not, then you can’t take the chance. They’re busting their tails and playing hard, we just have to break through the barrier.

He added, “Everybody wants to win and we’re putting ourselves in position to win every game. We just came up short. You can’t let frustration get the best of you. You have to keep plugging away. We’re doing a lot of positive things and we’ve got to remember that part.”

Meanwhile, John Wall – who had 13 points on the night – quipped, “They got a lead (in the fourth quarter) and they just kept it the rest of the quarter. We were fighting, but we couldn’t find a way to get back in front.

For Washington, Nene had 16 points and 13 rebounds. Jordan Crawford had another strong game, as he scored 20 points. Trevor Booker had 11 rebounds and Cartier Martin – just called up from the NBA development league – had 10 points.

Indiana’s Danny Granger had 25 points and led all scorers. Both David West and George Hill scored 14 points.

Wall spoke about the Wizards need to do and stay in close games – but win, and win often.

“Just executing down the stretch and getting the right shot attempts. We’re getting a lot better as a team. We’re right in games with a lot of playoff teams. But we have to find a way to close out games.”

The Wizards’ next contest is on Friday night as they face the Philadelphia Sixers at the Verizon Center.

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