Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal hurt the wrist on his shooting hand a few weeks ago after an awkward fall against the Denver Nuggets on Jan. 18. After a few ineffective games, Washington decided to rest Beal to speed up his recovery. But in the rookie sharpshooter's absence, Washington has struggled to find offense and it showed on a week in which the team dropped four straight games. The AFRO recaps the week that was for the Washington Wizards.
Jan. 28–Wizards 94, Sacramento Kings 96: It wasn't so much an ineffective Beal (six points, 2-of-6 shooting) as it was a dominating Isaiah Thomas. Washington battled the Kings toe-to-toe in a grinder at the Verizon Center and despite a 23-point, 15-rebound effort from Emeka Okafor, Kings guard Thomas stole the show, and the game. Thomas came up with a pair of critical baskets late in the game, including the game-winning tear dropper in the lane with just over a second left in the game that gave the Kings the deciding bucket. The loss also marked Beal's last game before sitting out the rest of the week with his wrist injury.
Jan. 30–Wizards 84, Philadelphia 76ers 92:The Sixers mirror the Wizards in many ways: electric point guard with a young and athletic roster. Philadelphia used both aspects along with a 23-11 second quarter to dispel the shorthanded Wizards. Center Nene led Washington with 16 points and eight rebounds along with Okafor’s 15 points, 17 rebounds and two blocks. Washington just couldn’t close the deficit as they entered the fourth quarter down by 12 points which later grew to 16 before Okafor’s dunk narrowed the game to 89-84 with 1:40 remaining. The Wizards clearly missed Beal as replacement shooting guard Garrett Temple and reserve guard Jordan Crawford combined for five points.
Feb. 1–Wizards 76, Memphis Grizzlies 85: A new-look Grizzlies roster and a still-suffering Wizards backcourt did the Wizards in after Washington totaled just 46 points for the remainder of the game after scoring 30 in the first. Nene (14 points) was the only Wizard to score in double figures as Washington shot 41 percent from the field and 25 percent from long range. Washington got as close as 70-74 late in the fourth quarter but Memphis responded with a closing 11-6 run to finish the game.
Feb. 2–Wizards 86, San Antonio Spurs 96: Even with veteran center Tim Duncan limping off the court with an injured ankle, the Spurs had enough left to dispatch Washington. San Antonio used a defensive strong front to jump to a 51-26 first-half lead. Five players scored in double figures for Washington but the lack of production from the shooting-guard position didn’t help as the Spurs buckled down in the final quarter. Temple and Crawford combined for eight points on 4-of-11 shooting and 0-for-3 from deep. Duncan left in the first half after spraining his left knee and right ankle but by that time San Antonio was already up by a sizeable margin.
After impressing for a strong two-week stretch, Washington fell back to earth with Beal out. With two upcoming home games against the Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks, Washington will have to find some scoring out of the off guard spot.
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