September 19, 2017

Washington Wizards Game 80 Recap: Without House of Guards, Wiz upset playoff bound Hornets

(Photo by: Jose Arqueta)

(Photo by: Jose Arqueta)

The Washington Wizards were eliminated from playoff contention on Friday when losing to the Detroit Pistons, but Randy Wittman wants to have “pride in playing” these last three games. For the third straight game, and probably rightfully so with nothing to play for, John Wall sat out with a sore right knee. Too add onto further injury, after one quarter of play that Washington would lose their other starting guard, but that did not stop the Wizards from playing hard. Behind an efficient performance from Marcin Gortat, 10 of 11 for for 21 points, 13 rebounds, and four assists, the Wizards dominated Charlotte on their way to a 113-98 victory.

You could argue that there was nothing to play for, but that did not stop the Polish Machine from opening the game 5 of 5 from the field, while grabbing seven rebounds in the quarter. When bench players starter to enter the lineup, Washington’s defense suffered allowing Charlotte to get better shooting looks. After Hornets’ Marvin Williams had to take a seat with two personal fouls early in the game, rookie Frank Kaminsky gave the road team a boost off the bench with seven first quarter points. Behind 16 points in the paint the home team clung to a 28-27 lead after one quarter.

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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.

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