Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) shoots a free throw in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons, Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015, in Washington. The Wizards won 99-95. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
It has been a rough 2015 for the Washington Wizards. After surging to a 19-6 start, the Wizards have slowed down over the last few weeks, evident by a season-high six-game losing streak which was preceded by a then season-high five game losing skid. Washington has struggled to find offense with shooting guard Bradley Beal out, and head coach Randy Wittman has been struggling to field formidable lineups against upper echelon teams around theAssociation. But Beal returned late in the week to give the Wizards a boost and out of the losing column. The AFRO recaps the week that was for the Washington Wizards.
Feb. 22: Pistons Dust-Off Wizards 106-89
The Wizards carried a two-game losing streak into the Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit on Sunday and the home-team Pistons didn’t show any sympathy. Washington’s five-point halftime lead quickly turned into a double-digit deficit by the end of the third quarter as the Pistons dusted off the Wizards 106-89. Detroit outscored the Wizards 35-19 in a deciding third quarter that stretched the game beyond Washington’s offensive reach. With Beal still sidelined, the offense struggled as both John Wall (10 points) and Nenê (four points) combined to shoot 7-for-26 from the field. Marcin Gortat led the Wizards with 24 points and 10 rebounds but scored many of his points on free baskets after the Pistons stormed ahead. Arriving off of a 38-point loss to the hands of Cleveland two nights prior, Washington simply couldn’t match the Pistons’ energy. The home crowd was more involved as usual as the team welcomed newly acquired point guard Reggie Jackson and longtime Piston Tayshaun Prince.
Feb. 24: Warriors’ Stephen Curry’s On-Court Wizardry Subdues Wizards
A Tuesday night home stand with the Golden State Warriors quickly turned into the Stephen Curry show as the Western all-star poured in 32 points on an array of dazzling moves and tricky shots. The Warriors out-maneuvered Washington in a 114-107 home defeat for fans at the Verizon Center. The game highlighted the difference in talent between the Wizards and the top teams. The roster lacks a player that can match basket-for-basket with some of the stronger scorers in the league and it was glaringly apparent Tuesday. Paul Pierce paced the club with 25 points and five rebounds, but several of his baskets were overshadowed by Curry’s wizardry on the opposite end. The Warriors welcomed Curry back after missing the previous game with an injury. The silk-shooting point guard closed the third quarter with nine straight points that rocked the Verizon Center and tilted the momentum to the road club.
Feb: 25-27: 76ers and Timberwolves Beat Wizards on the Road
Washington Wizards forward Nene (42), from Brazil, blocks a shot by Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond (0) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015, in Washington. The Wizards won 99-95. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Road games against the lowly Philadelphia 76ers and Minnesota Timberwolves were both poor efforts from a team that rose to second place in the Eastern Conference at one point during the season. A 97-77 loss to the Timberwolves on Wednesday and an 89-81 defeat to the Sixers on Friday were two of the lowest scoring outputs of the season by the offense. Washington shot 37 percent from the field against Minnesota, only to follow with a 32 percent showingin Philly in their next outing. The Wizards continued to fumble on offense in both games, pushing a six-game losing streak into a sad reality for a team that started the season so strong.
Feb: 28th: Skid Ends with Home Victory over Pistons
Fortunately, Washington was able to finally end its losing slump with a home win over the Detroit Pistons on Feb. 28. Wall led the way with 22 points and six assists, and Nene added 21 points with seven rebounds. Marcin Gortat had a double double of 16 points with 17 rebounds and Beal returned from his injury to score eight points.
Next: Washington travels to Chicago to face the Bulls on March 3, followed by a home game on March 6.