March 1, 2021

Washington Wizards Weekend Wrap: Wiz top Lakers but unravel against Warriors

It’s been the great mystery for the Washington Wizards (25-44) this season – how a sub-.400 team can boast wins against the Miami Heat, L.A. Clippers, New York Knicks and, now, the L.A. Lakers, yet falter against teams that fall into Washington’s category of the win/loss column.

This weekend, the Wizards showcased both the team they aspire to be and the team that lacks the firepower to stand as a contender late in March, much in part because of the losses they “should have” won, rather than a lack of upsets this season.

Both Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol returned to the Lakers Friday night, all but guaranteeing the Wizards would notch another road loss.

In fact, the Lakers carried a 57-41 lead into the second half after shooting 68 percent. Dwight Howard had already recorded 12 points and Antawn Jamison another 11 before spraining his right wrist on a dunk attempt.

The Wizards rallied back in the second half and outscored the Lakers 31-17 in the third quarter to pull within two points, trailing just 74-72 into the fourth.

John Wall added two baskets and Trevor Ariza sunk a three to tie the game at 79 points apiece two minutes into the fourth. When all was said and done, Ariza had recorded 14 of his 25 points on the night in the final 12 minutes of play. Among those 25 poins, Ariza posted a career-high seven three-pointers.

Bryant missed a game-tying jumper from 11 feet with just five seconds left to play and Metta World Peace fouled on Wall, who sank both free throws to push the Wizards in front, 101-97. Bryant’s follow-up three-pointer wasn’t enough as the Wizards held on in the clutch to win it 103-100, much to the Lakers’ chagrin.

Then, there was Golden State.

The Warriors were certainly favored in Saturday night’s matchup in Oakland, but the Wizards hardly ever showed a fight – save for John Wall’s ejection early into the second half.

Stephen Curry made it nearly impossible for the Wizards to gain momentum. His 35 points and eight assists virtually shut down the Wiz, whose leading scorer on the night was Cartier Martin with 23 points.

Washington shot just 33 percent in the first half, compared with Golden State’s 56 percent. To put that into perspective, at the half, Wall had led the Wizards’ efforts with just eight points – compared with Curry’s 20.

While it’s never quite commendable for a player to earn two technicals in a single game, at least Wall reminded fans that the Wizards do, in fact, have fight. Unfortunately, he demonstrated what happens when frustrations boil over into confrontations rather than productivity.

Wall earned his first technical after talking back to the refs in the first quarter, but in the third, he wound up in an altercation with Klay Thompson.

Both Wall and Thompson chased after a loose ball midway through the third and Thompson soon after fouled Wall on a layup attempt. Before tensions simmered, Wall steered around Emeka Okafor’s attempt to settle things down and, instead, went straight for Thompson, shouting. Thompson appeared to turn away, but Wall kept at it until the ref called a double technical, which forced Wall out of the game.

From there, the Warriors took off.

Curry fired to Andrew Bogut for a dazzling alley-oop shortly after the ejection, giving Golden State a 74-57 lead. Martell Webster’s driving layup with 3:28 remaining in the quarter pulled the Wizards within 13, trailing 77-64. Unfortunately, that was their last basket for the quarter – and the Warriors entered the fourth up 82-64.

Washington held Golden State to just 19 points in the fourth, but their 28 points were not enough to make a dent in the Warriors’ lead.

Nevertheless, the Wizards settled for a 1-2 split this weekend, falling 7-27 on the road. Washington returns home Monday to take on the Memphis Grizzlies in hopes of cashing in on the home court advantage.

About Alyssa Wolice

Alyssa Wolice is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Nationals and Wizards. As a former production assistant, she covered the Nationals, Redskins, Capitals, Wizards, D.C. United and local collegiate teams. You can follow Alyssa on Twitter @awolice.

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