October 23, 2020

Washington Wizards Game 74 Review: Wizards struggle, fall to Rockets

Two days removed from a double overtime thrilling win over the Hornets, the Wizards welcomed in the Rockets along with MVP candidate James Harden. The woeful shooting from the field continued again for the Wizards and they could not mount a comeback when Harden built his team an early lead. The Wizards failed to start a winning streak as they lost 99-91.

The Wizards were able to get out to an early lead much to the fact that the Rockets had eight turnovers in the first eight minutes of the game. However, the Wizards missed easy transition opportunities and let the Rockets keep things close. With a woeful 5 of 18 shooting from the field, the Rockets were able to come back to take a 21-15 lead behind an early and efficient 12 points for Josh Smith. Harden, as usual, got to the free throw line six times for his first five points before burying a three for his first field goal of the game. The Wizards trailed 28-20 after the first quarter hoping to make up ground from their bench.

The Rockets were surprisingly able to make up ground on the bench as Dwight Howard bullied Kevin Seraphin in the paint. Corey Brewer was the Josh Smith of the second quarter as he had five field goals, many of which were short put backs. The Wizards continued to not complete their transition opportunity. That along with inconsistent defense and hot shooting from the Rockets kept the deficit in double digits. Harden hit three straight field goals at the end of the half to give the Rockets a 59-46 lead at intermission.

Wizards could not buy a bucket during the first three minutes until John Wall decided to take over with a coast to coast lay in and jumper. Wall was able to will the Wizards to within eight, but six straight points from Ariza stretched the deficit to 14. Wall could not do everything himself and with no support from anybody else the Wizards chances looked bleak. Wall would not quit as he went 4 of 5 from the floor and 6 of 6 from the charity stripe, but the Wizards had a 9 point gap to make up in the fourth down 76-67.

The Wizards opened up the fourth quarter on a 5-0 run with great defense leading to transition opportunities that they were not converting earlier in the game. Otto Porter provided a spark off the bench with 8 points to cut the deficit to four, but back to back threes from the Rockets kept the Wizards at bay. The Wizards got within six again and Bradley Beal had a chance to force a one possession game late but Harden came soaring to block the attempt ending all hope. The Wizards fell 99-91.

Why the Wizards Lost:

  • The Wizards effort in the first half was laughable. They allowed 59 points to the Rockets and a 13-point deficit was too much for the Wizards to overcome in the second half.
  • For the second straight game, the Wizards failed to shoot 40 percent from the field and with the other not following suit they struggled to find offense for most of the game.
  • Excluding Wall and Beal, the other three Wizards starters only accounted for 18 points. 18 points were the same production the Wizards got from the bench without Otto Porter. Noticeable production from just three players will never win games against quality opponents.

The Wizards will look to fight back up the playoffs standings as they are 4 games back of the 3rd best record in the East and just 2.5 games back from securing home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The Wizards must stay focused against the struggling 76ers at home. Although not a quality win, Randy Wittman believes that in this stretch run the only thing that matters currently is winning no matter who the opponent may be.

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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