February 22, 2020

Washington Wizards Game 73 Review: Wizards begin new attempt to get back on track with victory over Hornets

John Wall forced overtime with a pull-up jumper with 9.9 seconds left in regulation, then scored seven of his game-high 32 points in overtime as the Washington Wizards halted a four-game losing streak with a 110-107 double-overtime win over the Charlotte Hornets at the Verizon Center.

Wall’s mid-range jumper with 9.5 seconds left in the second overtime sealed it.

The Wizards entered play struggling again. Having lost three in a row, the performance on and off the court is starting to spiral out of control as multiple reports of friction have occurred. Bradley Beal exited early against the Pacers in their third consecutive loss earlier in the week, but returned to the starting lineup two days later nursing a sprained right ankle.

Although the Wizards opened the game with a turnover, the team settled down on offense as Wall had three assists in the first four minutes of the game. Both teams started out with hot shooting in a back and worth pace that included three different instances where the game was tied. After the Hornets began shooting 6 of 10 from the field, they were 1 of 12 during a six-minute stretch in the middle of the quarter. Washington stayed efficient on both ends with 50 percent shooting from the field and seven blocks to secure a 28-19 lead after one.

The bench did an effective job as they kept the Wizards lead at multiple possessions. Thanks to Drew Gooden, the Wizards at one point had an 11-point lead as he drilled two 3-pointers and stole the ball on an inbounds pass during a minute span. The Hornets cut the lead to six on an Al Jefferson three, but Wall countered with back-to-back baskets to expand the lead to double digits again. The Hornets got as close as three and their shooting picked up while the Wizards fell off, but the Wizards held onto a 59-54 lead at the half.

The Wizards came out of the first half sluggish as they were continually slower than the ball in their rotations. The Hornets started out on a 14-2 run that allowed them to take their first lead since midway through the first quarter. The Hornets led by as much as seven in the quarter. The Wizards were able to weather the storm a bit as they struggled to find any offense. Although they had yet again blown a double-digit lead, they set themselves up for a chance to win the game in the fourth quarter down 79-75 entering the last frame.

Much as the Wizards came out slow to start the second half, the Hornets came out slow to start the fourth quarter as the Wizards burst onto the scene with a 13-3 run forcing a Charlotte timeout. The Hornets went cold from the field as they missed their first 11 shots from the field in the quarter. The Hornets countered with a 9-0 run, including a banked in 3, run to retake a three-point lead. The Wizards made things interesting as they could not execute on fundamentals. However, a made 3-pointer by Rasual Butler and a confident jumper stroke from John Wall forced the game into overtime tied at 96.

Mo Williams started the session with a 3-point shot to silence the crowd. Wall countered with a 3 of his own. The Wizards got a layup off of a steal, but the Hornets countered with a mid-range jumper from Williams. The two teams were unable to score more than five points in the first session as they were destined for another five minutes of play.

The teams traded buckets to start the second extra session. Then Wall let the crowd erupt as he hit an off-center 3-pointer to make the score 108-105 with 2:14 to go. Jefferson came back with another bucket and the Hornets had a chance to retake the lead after a controversial shot clock violation call, but failed too. Wall came back with another mid-range to put the Wizards up by three with 9.5 seconds to go. The Hornets could not make a 3-pointer at the buzzer and fell to the Wizards 110-107.

Why the Wizards Won:

  • Hornets shot a miserable 34.6 percent from the floor and although they made 27 free throws, the lack of shooting from the field lost them the game.
  • The Wizards got huge production from their bench tonight as they scored 38 points, including 25 from the combination of Butler and Drew Gooden.
  • Wall had a great game with 32 points, nine rebounds, six assists, and two steals. Although he took a high volume of 30 shots in the game, he came through in the clutch with masterful mid-range and 3-point jumpers.
  • Beal finished with 16 points, six rebounds and six assists. Marcin Gortat had eight points and 16 boards. Paul Pierce had just six points in 23 minutes. Nene played only 20 minutes, deferring to a season-high 39 minutes from Gooden.

The Wizards look to continue their positive momentum moving forward and leaving the poor play in the rear view window as they welcome in MVP candidate James Harden and the Houston Rockets for a Sunday matinee. If the Wizards want to have any chance to be successful, they will have to give it their all on defense to stop Harden and Dwight Howard. A win against the Rockets is just what the Wizards could use to get back on track as they are in the stretch run of the regular season. According to John Wall on what the Wizards can take away from the game for the rest of the season, “learning how to play team defense again”.

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.

%d bloggers like this: