After winning three of their last four, the Wizards are now mired in another slump, dropping their second in a row to the Philadelphia 76ers 92-84 on Wednesday night.
The night started out strong for the Wizards, taking 28-25 lead into the second quarter. Washington got their scoring from all over with Nene, John Wall, Kevin Seraphin, Jordan Crawford, Tervor Ariza and Emeka Okafor all knocking down shots. It boded well for the team on the evening since it was without their offensive horse Bradley Beal, who sat out with a wrist injury.
It was pretty much all downhill from there for the Wizards after that.
Wednesday night’s second quarter could not have possibly gone any worse. After leading heading into the second, Washington promptly gave up a 15-5 run and the lead to the 76ers. Lavoy Allen and Thaddeus Young lead the comeback for Philadelphia. Both players were a catalyst for Philadelphia all evening and each tallied a total of 14 points, with Allen’s coming off the bench.
Outside of the horrid second quarter, unforced errors and turnovers also contributed to the Wizards’ downfall. With a total of 18 turnovers, somehow still better than the 20 they had in their last game, Washington had a hard time scoring, primarily because they had a hard time holding on to the ball long enough to generate a scoring chance.
There were yet again, four starters in double-digits and Okafor had another double-double, but it still was not enough to overcome the pesky 76ers. Washington would only win one more quarter, the fourth, and really struggled shooting the ball hitting just 40-percent of their shots. Perhaps most concerning was the team’s inability to hit threes, but yet the repeated decision to keep shooting them.
Washington only lost by eight and launched 22 three-balls. Martell Webster and Ariza were the most productive from long range, hitting a combined 6-of-14. Meanwhile the rest of the team hit a total of one three-point shot. It is a problematic too, since the 76ers 46-percent of their three-point attempts. If only Washington had driven the lane a bit more instead of launching some of those three-point shots, they may have had a shot at winning this game.
With the loss, Washington fell back into a pattern of old habits and now sports a 11-33 record. Until Beal returns, it is going to be tough to see the Wizards converting many other games into wins, as Wall and the rest of the supporting cast just isn’t enough.
Wizards’ MVP: Okafor quietly is making a case to be the first-half MVP of this team, or at least the MVP for the last month. With yet another double-double, his fourth in six games, he has totaled 15 or more rebounds in four of his last five contests. Heading forward Okafor is going to be a huge part of the Washington’s starting-five.
Wizards’ Least Valuable Player: It was tough to pick between Wall and Garrett Temple, but Wall needs to be better for this team to succeed. In his first game without Beal since his return, Wall was ho-hum totaling just nine points and contributed only six assists. If Washington is going to win without Beal, Wall has to set up more of his teammates.