September 2, 2014

Washington Wizards Game Wrap 56: Wizards throw away victory in 96-95 loss to the Pistons

The Washington Wizards’ winning streak ended at three games, as they fell to the Detroit Pistons 96-95 for the fourth time this season, as the Wizards threw away the final possession which gave them a chance to hit a shot to win it.

Even with John Wall having probably one of his worst games of the season, the Wizards were able to mount a comeback in the fourth quarter and almost overcame what looked like an insurmountable Pistons lead, but their attempt fell just short, entirely to poor fundamentals.

“We were more caught up in ourselves as individuals than the team. That’s the bottom line. We got guys that, haven’t been in the rotation, complaining, the older guys try to help them and they wont listen and that just tells me I’m worried about myself, I’m not worried about winning this game,” Wizards Head Coach Randy Wittman said following the game. “Its my job to coach you and right now, tonight for whatever reason, it’s bizarre to me, they didn’t want to be coached.”

In a first quarter filled with Wizards turnovers, it was a miracle the Wizards were only down 28-24. Back-to-back turnovers by Wall midway through the first were converted into four Pistons points and helped Detroit establish the early lead. Meanwhile, in addition to Wall’s struggles no one on the floor seemed ready to accept a pass or keep a play alive. In comparison, the Pistons looked sharp, including Brandon Knight who bucketed 12 in the first and had a huge assist on a Greg Monroe ally-oop.

Most of the second quarter went the same way as the first for the Wizards. Detroit firmly held control of the game and back-to-back threes from Kim English gave the Pistons confidence. Wall was noticeably absent on the floor, sitting for much of the second quarter and had five total turnovers in the first half.  Even though Detroit was never able to truly pull away, they certainly were in control.

“I”m not sure what it is right now. I dont’ think he is playing that terribly bad, as bad as he may think he’s playing,” A.J. Price said of Wall after the game. “He’s just gotta stay with it, it’s up to us as teammates to bring him with us, pick him up and keep him confident.”

That is of course, until Price got involved in the game.

Down 45-42, Price lofted up a halfcourt ally-oop to Martell Webster who slammed it home to put the Wizards within one. Price then set up Tervor Ariza who knocked down a three to make it 47-45 and followed up his downtown bucket with a steal and score to further extend the lead. Ariza would finish with 14 points in the second quarter alone and helped propel the team to a 55-51 halftime lead.

Washington edged out the Pistons for most of the third quarter, but Detroit fought back quickly. After a scary moment where Beal went down hard, again, and came up holding his wrist, Knight gave the Pistons back their lead. Detroit’s stellar guard hit a big three pointer and then dished to Kyle Singler who hit a one-handed slam to put the Pistons up. Detroit would go on a 27-8 run to closeout the quarter and held a 82-68 lead heading into the final frame.

Price put an exclamation point on an opening run in the fourth for the Wizards though, with a big three pointer to pull Washington back within seven. The run continued, as the Wizards bucketed 11 unanswered points before an English layup finally put the Pistons on the board. Turnovers, fouls-galore and poor shot decisions though, allowed Detroit to cling to a slim lead down the stretch.

The comeback attempt never completed for the Wizards, despite pulling within one with 12.3 second left. Ariza, who had 22 on the night, was clear path fouled and hit both of his free throws. Washington couldn’t convert the ensuing possession though, fumbling the ball and failing to knock down the shot. It was a fitting ending for a game marred with poor offense by a Wizards team who finish the season 0-4 against the Pistons.

They now look ahead to welcoming the New York Knicks to town on Friday night, as they look to restart the winning streak.

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