It was a busy week for the Washington Wizards, who collected their first road victory of the season but lost three straight to fall to 3-18 this season.
Meanwhile, Washington sent point guard John Wall to New York on Dec. 14 to see a specialist about his slow-healing knee injury. The prognosis was good, and Wall is expected to increase his physical activity as he attempts to return from an injury that has kept him sidelined for the first few months of the season.
Dec. 11: Washington 77, New Orleans 70
Trailing by 11 points after the first quarter, the Wizards turned it on against the lowly Hornets, upstaging New Orleans in its own arena to claim their first road win of the year. New Orleans welcomed the return of no. 1 draft pick Anthony Davis, but Washington's Jordan Crawford (26 points) and Nene (10 points, 10 rebounds) led the charge on an exciting night. Rookie Bradley Beal added 15 points and seven rebounds.
Dec. 12: Houston 99, Washington 93
Washington got off to a slow start once again, and trailed Houston by 10 after the opening quarter. But as they did against New Orleans, Washington rallied and stormed back to take a brief lead in the game. Five players scored in double figures for Washington, led by Beal’s 20 points. Despite a collective effort, the Wizards simply couldn't stop newly acquired Rocket James Harden, who scored 31 points while connecting on all nine of his free throw attempts. Harden’s 17 first quarter points set the tone for his hot-shooting night.
Dec. 14: Los Angeles Lakers 102, Washington 96
Washington appeared to have the edge over the struggling Lakers for nearly the entire first half, and led by nine points in the middle of the second quarter. The shots were flowing, and a sold out Verizon Center was definitely tuned in to the game. Five Wizards scored in double figures but were no match for Kobe Bryant’s 30 points and Laker reserve guard Jodie Meeks’ 24 points. Washington narrowed a 16-point deficit to just three late in the fourth quarter, but that would be as close as they would get, as Los Angeles made a few key plays down the stretch to ice the game.
Dec. 15: Miami 102, Washington 72
The Wizards claimed a victory over the Miami Heat a few weeks ago, but the defending NBA champions made sure they wouldn't suffer a fourth consecutive loss to Washington. Forced turnovers and stifling defense led to a 30-point blowout at home for Miami, in which 13 different players scored for the Heat. Washington shot just 37 percent from the floor while committing more turnovers (21) than assists (16) in the game. Beal led the team in scoring with 19 points, but even he shot just 6-for-18 from the field. Washington trailed by 12 points after the first quarter and limped into the final period down by 33 points.
The Wizards have been a mess while they await the return of Wall, and Nene continues to see his minutes limited as he deals with plantar fasciitis. The Wizards will host the Atlanta Hawks on Dec. 18, but until their top two players return to full health, Washington will continue to struggle.