May 1, 2016

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 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 79 Recap: Wiz unable to complete comeback against Pistons, eliminated from playoffs without Wall

(Photo by: Allen Einstein / Getty Images)

(Photo by: Allen Einstein / Getty Images)

For the second game, and only second time this season, the Washington Wizards took the floor without their best player John Wall (sore knee). Needing to win their final four games and having Detroit lose their final three, the Wizards got an opportunity for a two for one by traveling to The Palace in a Friday night matchup with the Pistons. In typical Washington fashion, the road team dug themselves a big hole before getting bailed out by an unlikely source in the third quarter. But in the end it was all about not playing defense against Reggie Jackson who dropped 39 in Auburn Hills. Washington’s season essentially ended today by being eliminated from playoff contention with a 112-99 loss to Detroit.

If Washington was going to have any shot of miraculous squeaking into the playoffs, they would need another efficient performance from Bradley Beal who scored 25 points on 15 shot attempts against Brooklyn. Things looked good for the Panda early on when he scored seven straight Wizards points, but then things dropped off for the road team. Following a Stan Van Gundy timeout, Detroit went on a 13-2 run behind 7 of 9 shooting from beyond the arc in the first quarter. Reggie Jackson and Tobias Harris combined for 27 points and Washington trailed 39-25 after twelve minutes.

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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 77 Recap: Offseason closer for Wiz as reloaded Clippers handle their business

(Photo by: Patrick Smith / Getty Images)

(Photo by: Patrick Smith / Getty Images)

It is likely that the Washington Wizards are going to want to forget about the 2015-2016 season once it is all said and done. They will probably have no draft picks and miss the playoffs for the first time since 2013. In Blake Griffin’s first game since Christmas Day, following a quad tear, broken hand, and four-game team suspension, it was the backcourts that defined the game. Washington’s House of Guards were a combined 7 of 28 from the field for just 23 points, while the Clippers guard combination of Chris Paul, J.J. Redick, and Jamal Crawford dropped 64 points on 23 of 44 shooting. The Wizards hung around for much of the game but eventually lost 114-109.

The pick and roll defense was horrendous for Washington to start the game as the Clippers made their first four shots. Behind a 4 of 4 start from the field from Redick, Los Angeles took a commanding 21-8 lead. John Wall exited the game just over four minutes into the game with two personal fouls before picking up a technical on the bench. Randy Wittman was close to getting a technical foul before Markieff Morris actually did as the Wizards were frustrated by officiating frm young referees. Paul finished the quarter with 9 points and 5 assists as the Clippers led 33-23 after one quarter.

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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 70 Recap: Wiz get back to .500 by beating Hawks on the road, a rarity

(Photo by: @Wizards)

(Photo by: @Wizards)

The Washington Wizards’ victories after the lottery bound Philadelphia 76ers and New York Knicks were not particularly pretty, but it got the job done. Next up was the difficult task of beating the Atlanta Hawks on the road where they have lost 14 of their lost 15. That record improved tonight as the Wizards had one of their best offensive performances post all-star break. In another balanced scoring attack, all five starters in double figures, the House of Guards poured in 52 points. Bradley Beal looked like his old Blue Magic self with 25 points as the Wizards pulled away late for a 117-102 victory over the playoff bound Hawks.

Washington got off to a hot start by making their first three field goals and jumping out to a 7-0 lead. The ball movement was superb in the early goings with seven assists on the Wizards first seven made field goals. Marcin Gortat led the charge with 6 of 8 shooting from the field in the opening quarter. The hot start did not continue as John Wall and Otto Porter combined for a miserable 3 of 13 shooting in the first quarter, while the Hawks hit four 3-pointers with inside-out passing. After twelve minutes of play the home team had a 30-27 edge by finishing the quarter on a 14-6 run.

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Washington Wizards Game 69 Recap: Wiz knocking on door of playoffs with comeback win over Knicks

(Photo by: @Wizards)

(Photo by: @Wizards)

The Washington Wizards have little room for error over the last month of the season if they want any shot of squeaking into the playoffs. That means they needed to take care of business against the lottery bound New York Knicks. It looked like Washington was going to get run out of their own building in the first half when they were unable to hit a jump shot for literally their playoff lives. Thankfully there are two halves in basketball and the Wizards made the most of it by completing their biggest comeback of the season. The Knicks certainly made it easier with 17 turnovers that Washington converted into 29 points on their way to a 99-89 victory. John Wall recorded his 42nd double-double of the season.

Kristaps Porzingis and Markieff Morris paced their respective squads at a 4-4 tie in the early goings, before New York went on an 8-0 run forcing a Randy Wittman timeout. The Washington Wizards offense struggled because of an inability to knock down jump shots even when being given space by the knicks. Otto Porter emphasized the struggle with 0 of 5 shooting in the first quarter that saw Washington shoot under 35 percent (8 of 23). On the flip side, the road team was on fire with 54 percent shooting from the field that gave the Knicks a 29-20 lead after one quarter.

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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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