Road games have dominated the Washington Wizards’ schedule over the last few weeks, and their latest road swing kicked off with a rough start before Washington recovered to salvage the week.
A four-game West Coast trip included games against the Portland Trailblazers and the Denver Nuggets. Despite dropping their first two contests in heartbreaking fashion, an improved bench helped the Wizards play competitive basketball and take every game down to the wire. It wasn’t a great week for the Washington Wizards, but they didn’t lose much ground in their quest for a playoff spot. The AFRO covers the week that was for the Washington Wizards.
Tues., March 18: Wizards Fall to Kings in OT, 117-111
A late-night game against the Sacramento Kings started off poorly for the visiting Wizards. The 10 p.m. Eastern start time was a late game for fans at home, but apparently for the Wizards as well, who started slowly and fell 117-111 in overtime. A 30-19 opening quarter got the Wizards behind early, as missed shots and rusty play from a short layoff got the best of the team in the early going. But behind Marcin Gortat's 19 points and 14 rebounds, Washington battled back and even held a late 11-point lead at the start of the final quarter. However, Rudy Gay, DeMarcus Cousins and Isaiah Thomas each scored 24 points apiece for the Kings, and forged a late charge to tie the game in regulation at 100-100. Six Wizards scored in double figures.
Thurs. March 20 – Washington Sinks with Loss to Portland, 116-103
A back issue kept Gortat out of the lineup in Portland. With the Wizards already missing Nene, Gortat’s absence helped a high-scoring Portland team run wild, as the Trailblazers scored 30 or more points in each quarter after the first en route to a 116-103 win. The lack of defense was evident as Portland shot 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from deep and 80 percent from the free throw line. The high shooting percentages coupled with repetitive defensive lapses kept Washington on its heels all night. John Wall led the team with 24 points and 14 assists, but Portland's backcourt of Damian Lillard and Wesley Matthews combined for 51 points, 15 assists and seven three-pointers.
Fri. March 21 – Impressive Win for Wizards over Lakers, 117-107
Washington got back on track the following night against the Los Angeles Lakers in impressive fashion. Led again by another clutch performance from Wall (28 points, 14 assists and two steals), Washington got off to a fast start and held on for a 117-107 victory. Seven players scored in double figures for Washington, who received double-doubles from Gortat and Drew Gooden. The Wizards simply overpowered the less talented Lakers, shooting 10-of-25 from deep and holding off a strong performance by ex-Wizard Nick Young, who scored 21 points.
Washington's current road trip will end March 23 in Denver, but the ensuing home stand will get even tougher as Indiana, Phoenix and Atlanta all invade the Verizon Center in the upcoming week. With less than a month remaining in the NBA season, the Wizards can ill-afford to endure a losing streak as playoff seeding begins to take shape.