November 18, 2018

Washington Wizards Game 65 Recap: Wiz falling apart at the worst time with loss to Nuggets

The Washington Wizards blew an opportunity to upset the red-hot Portland Trail Blazers and then got embarrassed against a bad Utah Jazz team last night. Hoping to save face to end the West Coast road trip, the Wizards faced off against the Denver Nuggets on the second night of a back-to-back. Whether it was tired legs, a lack of defensive effort, questionable lineups, or all of the above, Washington imploded in the fourth quarter. John Wall admirably played the entire second half but the Wizards were beaten 41-17 in the final frame on their way to a 116-100 loss.

(Photo by: @BulletsForever)

(Photo by: @BulletsForever)

It was deja vu to start the game as Marcin Gortat again had to exit the first quarter early with two personal fouls, tonight with 8:32 remaining. Today Nene brought a nice physical presence of the bench matching up with Nikola Jokic. Washington went on a 12-4 run thanks to back-to-back 3-pointers from Garrett Temple, still in the starting lineup with Bradley Beal out with a sprained pelvis. As if the DMV needed anymore reason to dislike the Michigan State Spartans, Gary Harris had 10 quarter points that led an 8-0 Denver run. As a result the Wizards trailed 27-23 thanks to three missed layups.

Midway through the quarter Washington went on an 14-6 run to tie the game up at 40 and later take a two point lead. It was ridiculous that the Wizards half court offense was so poor because they were only in the game because of Denver miscues. By halftime the Nuggets had a ridiculous 16 turnovers that Washington converted into 18 points, but were still shooting a poor 37.3 percent (19 of 52) from the field. Denver still held a 52-50 advantage at halftime because of 53.7 percent (22 of 41) shooting when they were actually able to get shots off.

Marcin Gortat, eight minutes played through three quarters, foolishly picked up his fourth foul 30 feet away from the basket early in the second half. Not having the pick-and-roll extraordinaire probably had some impact on the inefficient offense. Finally towards the end of the quarter the Wizards offense broke through with a 10-0 run fueled by fast break points, including two finishes through contact by Otto Porter. With Nene unable to take on all of Gortat’s minutes, JJ Hickson gave Washington a solid ten points off the bench but also was getting killed on the glass with paired up with Jared Dudley in the front court. Going into the final quarter Washington had an 83-75 lead.

The road team fell apart in the early goings of the fourth quarter as the Nuggets went on a 14-0 run to take a 96-89 lead with 5:56 to play. Denver got 75 points from their bench including 51 straight starting at the end of the third quarter and most of the fourth. Washington went seven minutes without a field goal as the deficit ballooned to 15 points as the offense became unwatchable. At the same time they could not get stops on defense even though their playoffs lives more or less hung in the balance. The Wizards lost their season-high fifth game in a row by a final score of 116-100.

Whether Washington is able to get into the playoffs will be directly correlated to their performance over the next two games: at home against Detroit (Monday at 8) and Chicago (Wednesday at 7). Both teams are immediately in front of Washington in the Eastern Conference standings and tiebreakers are at stake.

About Neil Dalal

Neil Dalal is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins, Wizards, and Maryland Terrapins. Neil grew up in Silver Spring, MD and attends the University of Maryland. Neil has loved everything related to the Redskins, Wizards, Capitals, and Terrapins since he was eight years old. However, he favors the Orioles, as he started watching baseball before the Expos moved to DC. You can follow Neil on Twitter @NeilDalal96.

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  1. […] off an extremely disappointing three-game West Coast trip, the Washington Wizards are on a five-game skid. On the other hand, the Detroit Pistons, 3.5 games […]

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