Poor defense and ice-cold shooting were the main culprits behind the Washington Wizards’ abysmal 92-76 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats that extends their season opening losing streak to six games.
Before we dive into the game, lets start with Tuesday’s good news for the Wizards. The team did jump out to a 7-0 lead early on the Bobcats and seized control at the start for the second straight game. Washington moved the ball well and hit some nice outside perimeter shots.
Too bad for the Wizards, the 7-0 run would be where the good news and positives would end. Charlotte stormed back to take a 13-9 lead on a 13-2 run capped off by a Brendan Haywood dunk. Washington was victimized in the paint, failed to make basic defensive plays and looked utterly lost when it came to defending some of the Bobcats’ set pieces. Those problems would be reoccurring themes for most of the game.
It would not get much better for the Wizards, who would hang strong for most of the second quarter, but ultimately fall short by the end of it. Trevor Ariza was a nice surprise for Washington in the first half, scoring 12-points on 5-12 shooting. The rest of the team though, outside of Ariza, went a combined 9-29 on their way to a 52-39 halftime deficit. Particularly concerning in the first half was yet again, the play of rookie Bradley Beal who was 1-5 shooting, only totaled four points and had no assists for the red, white and blue.
The third quarter looked much like the first two. After missing another three to open the second half, the Wizards found themselves on the wrong end of an 0-9 slump shooting behind the arc that would continue until Webster knocked down one later in the third. Any casual fan would have a hard time finding a worse shooting team than the Wizards were Tuesday night. Washington continually missed open looks, failed to hit basic pull-up jumpers and seemed scared to drive the lane.
While it may have taken almost a full quarter, the Wizards finally started to get back into the game and cut their 18-point deficit at the start of the third quarter to just nine with a strong 13-4 run heading into the fourth. The run did not continue, as the Bobcats again, began to slowly knock down shots and free throws to rebuild their lead. Charlotte put the dagger in Washington’s hopes of coming back when they extended their lead to 83-67 with a 9-0 run.
Washington went more than nine minutes without knocking down a shot in the fourth and allowed the Bobcats to blow the game open with a 16-4 run. The team would hit a few buckets and got a few stops down the stretch. In the end though, it would not be enough to overcome the hole they dug themselves into by shooting 31 three point-shots and only knocking down five of them throughout the course of the game.
The win was the first for the Bobcats over the Wizards since January 2011 and is their first back-to-back wins since April of 2011. Beal was definitely the biggest black cloud for Washington, as he was pulled from the game with just over four-minutes to play and shot an abysmal 1-for-11 from the floor. Washington as a hole shot below 30-percent and were pushed around on the boards continually Tuesday night.
The loss drops the team to 0-6 on the season for the second year in a row and means Wizards fans are probably staring 0-7 in the face, as the team’s next shot at a win comes against a very good Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday in Texas.