A new coach, new players and a new attitude wasn’t enough to save the Washington Wizards from another dismal start. Washington (1-3) has limped out the gate of the 2016-2017 season despite a relatively healthy roster and shiny new coach in Scott Brooks. Brooks is still settling in on rotations and lineups while star guard John Wall is still working the rust off from offseason knee surgery. Bradley Beal hasn’t played like the $128-million player he now is and no one else has emerged on the roster to provide consistent scoring. It’s all added up to give Washington the second worst record in the NBA Eastern Conference. The AFRO recaps the week that wasn’t for the Washington Wizards.
Oct. 30: Grizzlies Whip Wizards in Overtime, 112-103
Still wounded from an opening night loss to Atlanta, Washington began the week on the road against the Memphis Grizzlies on Oct. 30. Washington held a lead for much of the game but lost in overtime 112-103. The Wizards led 100-97 with less than 24 seconds left in the game before Memphis center Marc Gasol made an improbable three-pointer
Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat (13) is fouled by Memphis Grizzlies forward JaMychal Green (0) as Wizards forward Markieff Morris (5) looks on in the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
to even the game before Washington faltered in overtime. Memphis outscored the Wizards 12-3 in the extra session as Wall, Beal and the rest of the Wizards simply couldn’t muster any extra offense in the period. Wall paced the team with 22 points and 13 assists. Beal and Marcin Gortat scored 13 points, apiece.
Nov. 2: Wizards Fall in Embarrassing Loss to Raptors, 113-103
With a chance to impress fans in their home opener, the Wizards couldn’t find a defense to stop DeMar DeRozan and the Toronto Raptors in a 113-103 home loss on Nov. 2. DeRozan scored 40 points, and the Raptors connected on 10 three-pointers to offset Wall’s 33-point, 11-assist night. Third-year forward Otto Porter had a memorable game as well, recording 23 points and 13 assists. It was an embarrassing night for Washington who committed 21 turnovers and failed to impress after Gortat labeled their home opener a “must-win” game after starting the season 0-2.
Nov. 4: Washington Ekes Out 95-92 Win over Atlanta
Washington returned to the Verizon Center on Nov. 4 with a chance of earning their first win and avenging an opening night loss to the Atlanta Hawks. The Wizards took advantage of their opportunity and managed to hold on despite giving up a comfortable lead in a 95-92 win. Beal played like his contract amount, scoring 28 points while connecting on 13 of 14 free throws. Washington held a 16-point lead but saw Atlanta cut it to just two points with close to five minutes left in the final quarter. Beal scored seven points after that and Washington recovered enough to hold on. Wall added 21 points, six rebounds and 10 assists, continuing his early season stretch of impressive numbers.
Nov. 5: Wizards Defeated in Close Call by Orlando Magic, 88-86
The Wizards traveled to Orlando the following night in the second half of a back-to-back. The Wizards again held a sizable lead going into the final quarter but couldn’t hold on to it in an 88-86 loss. Markieff Morris missed the game-winning three-pointer with seconds left in
Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) drives toward Orlando Magic forward Jeff Green (34) as Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon (00) gives chase during the second quarter of a basketball game in Orlando, Fla., on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Reinhold Matay)
regulation. Washington played without Wall — who won’t play on the second half of back-to-back games as he recovers from surgery — and the Wizards offense scored its lowest point total of the early season. Morris scored a team-high 18 points while Beal added 15 points on just 6-of-17 shooting. Washington recorded just 11 assists as a team without Wall, who’s averaging 10 assists a game.
Wall has been Washington’s best player so far, averaging 22 points per game to go along with five rebounds and 10 assists per night. A 1-3 start wasn’t in the cards coming into the season but the Wizards will have some work to do if they want to right the ship. Washington returns to action on Nov. 7 when they host James Harden and the Houston Rockets.