It was yet another lesson in heartbreak for the Washington Wizards Saturday night, as they fell to the Charlotte Bobcats 108-106 in double overtime to extend their franchise worst season opening losing streak to eleven games.
Many would have bet the Wizards’ season could not get any more painful, but the team found a way to make it worse Saturday. With the game in Chris Singleton’s hands at the free throw line, shooting three with an opportunity to take a one point lead in the closing seconds of the first overtime period, he only sunk two shots, tying the game at 99 and sending it to a second overtime. The blown two point lead in the first overtime was the second time in as many games the Wizards have not held onto an OT lead.
After grabbing a three point advantage at the start of the second five minutes, Washington ultimately faltered down the stretch, blowing another game after leading in multiple quarters.
“Its hard to win a game … I thought we had three great looks, just, they didn’t go in, free throws, a lot of things,” Wittman said following the loss. “Start of the game, start of the third quarter again … and that lies with me guys. I’m not pointing the finger at my players”
Washington squandered opportunities throughout the game to take control, but were unable to go on runs and seize momentum. Nene, in his second game back from injury, was a force for Washington on the floor. He provided energy, spark and heart to a team needing every bit of it for a win. He scored 19-points and added five boards to the mix coming off the bench for 30 minutes. Without his effort, Washington would never have been in position to send the game to overtime.
The culmination of many problems, from sinking free throws, to shot selection, to defense led to the loss. Of all the issues though, the biggest was Washington’s three point defense. Charlotte’s Byron Mullens, who was wide-open most of the night, hit five of his 11 three pointers, while Ben Gordon added four of his own. In fact, Charlotte had a better shooting percentage from beyond the arc, 42 percent, than Washington did from the whole floor, 36 percent.
When approached after the game, Washington’s Martell Webster plainly laid out how Washington can turn the team around.
“There is no [force working against us], it is just us and it is going to be just us that gets up out of this,” Webster said following the game. “There is no excuses, no excuses to make, we just have to win.”
In addition to Webster’s 21 points, Washington got nice games out of Singleton, who had a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds, and from rookie Bradley Beal, who had his own double-double with 10 rebounds and 13 points. Beal had a shot to win the game for Washington at the end of the first overtime period, but missed an open three-point shot as time expired. He admitted, he never thought it would be this hard to win.
“It is always going to be hard to win, I didn’t know it would be this difficult,” Beal said after the game. “It is just an adversity we are going through. I mean, we are 0-11, but we still have 70 more games and its still a long season and still have our opportunity to get over .500.”
By dropping to to 0-11, the Wizards are now just seven losses away from tying the NBA record for the worst start to a season in history. Their next attempt to break this season long disaster of a losing streak is Monday when the San Antonio Spurs come to town.