“This was the first game where we truly had no chance to win. They were just way better.” — Wizards center Marcin Gortat
Over the past 15 games or so, the Washington Wizards have been mostly competitive when they weren’t outright winning basketball games. Saturday night, Chris Paul and the L.A. Clippers showed the Wizards have a ways to go yet, as they unceremoniously dominated Washington from start to finish, winning 104-86 at Verizon Center.
It was the Wizards’ fourth loss in a row, dropping them to 9-13.
“I think we didn’t execute anything today defensively and offensively,” Gortat said. “You have to give them credit, they are a very good team. They are really talented and have a very good coaching staff. They came out ready to play. You can see there’s a difference between the teams, the way they talk to each other, and the way they communicate.”
The veteran big man finished with six points and seven boards in 28 minutes.
Chris Paul had a night for the ages, dropping 38 on the Wiz shooting 11 of 14 from the floor, including 5 of 7 from beyond the arc. Paul also had time for 12 assists and made all 11 of his free throws.
“When [Paul] scores 21-or-more points, they’re 10-0,” Booker said after the game. “He had it going. It’s just one of those nights.”
The Wizards were led by John Wall, whose 24 points came on 10 of 16 shooting and 4 of 5 from the line. Wall matched Paul’s assists with 12 on the night.
“I think [Wall] learned something tonight,” coach Randy Wittman explained. “But that is part of the process in growing. Trust me, Chris Paul learned some things early in his career from different guys. That’s part of the league.”
“We gave three games away, that’s one thing we are frustrated about,” Wall said. “You got to move past that and look at the next game. Tonight, we came out, but they were on a roll, knocking down shots, getting whatever they wanted. We fought our way back but it was still tough to come back and get a win. We got three more games before the Christmas break and they are all on the road. We got to go find a way to win the first one and that starts in New York on Monday.”
Washington never led in the game and was down by 10 points before seven minutes came off the game clock. The Clippers never really went on any single big run throughout the game, but the way Paul was sinking his shots, they seemingly made three buckets for every two by the Wizards.
The final could have been worse. Chris Singleton hit two 3-pointers late to shave six points off the Clippers margin of victory.
Martell Webster and Trevor Booker added 12 apiece, while Trevor Ariza chipped in with 11.
So what can a team take out of a beating like this? Wittman just wanted to focus on the future.
“New York. That is all we have to think about now, going into New York. We’ve played them already once, we played Brooklyn already once, we haven’t played Boston, but we have played Minnesota. So three out of these four, we know what we’re up against so that should help us.”