Searching for their first back-to-back wins in what seems like an eternity, the Washington Wizards could not climb out of a second and third quarter hole to overcome the Chicago Bulls in a 87-77 loss.
Washington started out strong in the first quarter as a whole. Despite opening the game sluggish, the team was able to pull itself together to take control. Heading into the second quarter, the Wizards held on to a slim 26-22 lead.
The red, white and blue took their six point lead and expanded it to eight in the opening moments of the second quarter. After taking their most commanding lead of the day though, it started to go all downhill and quickly for the Wizards. Chicago continually hit big shots and caused turnovers to limit Washingtons opportunities to get on the board.
As a team, the Wizards turned the ball over 16 times, compared to Chicago’s just eight giveaways. Garrett Temple, Friday night’s star who made his first start on Saturday, was the bigest culprit of the turnover issues, with four. Two other Wizards, Bradley Beal and Kevin Seraphin, both had three turnovers apiece.
A win was already going to be a tough for the Wizards, even before they lost their leading scorer before the game. Jordan Crawford did not dress because of right ankle soreness and it really showed in the team’s offensive production. For the game, the team only shot 36 percent from the floor and only knocked down three of their 10 three point attempts. Crawford joins a long list of injured players including, John Wall, Trevor Ariza, Chris Singleton and A.J. Price.
Nene started another game for Washington, but is clearly still on a minutes limit, only playing 25 total. It was not the typical Nene performance fans are used to though, with the Brazilian native only scoring ten points with nine rebounds and going minus-six on the evening.
Perhaps the best Wizard on the floor all night was Emeka Okafor, who knocked down 11 points with 18 rebounds, 12 of them on the defensive side of the court. He was key in the second half when the Wizards were trying to fight their way back during the third and fourth quarters. Repeatedly Okafor was waiting to snag a rebound after a bad Bulls shot and helped the Wizards keep it close.
Even without their best player, Derek Rose, the Bulls still victimized the Wizards with their other two, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah. Boozer totalled 15 points and 12 rebounds, while Noah added nine of his own and 11 boards. The two of them combined with the hot shooting Kirk Hinrich for 34 of Chicago’s total points.
It is yet another road loss for the Wizards, who are now just 1-13 away from the Verizon Center. They return home on New Years Day to face another elite team in the Dallas Mavericks at the Verizon Center. Washington will be going for their second home winning streak of the year.