The 2016-2017 NBA regular season ends next week, and despite having a playoff spot already sewn up, the Washington Wizards are still chasing another in-season goal of reaching 50 wins for the first time in Wizards franchise history. Washington won a franchise-high 60 games as the Bullets during the 1974-1975 season and 54 games during the 1978-1979 campaign. Though the name changed in 1997, the success the old Bullets had never carried
Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) goes up for a shot against New York Knicks guard Ron Baker (31) and forward Carmelo Anthony (7) during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, April 6, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
over to the new moniker. But the Wizards have turned things around this year behind guards John Wall and Bradley Beal who have steered the franchise to its most wins since the late ‘70s. With 48 wins and only a handful of games left for the regular season, the Wizards still have a little more work to do if they want to reach 50 wins. The AFRO recaps the week that was for the Washington Wizards.
April 2: Washington Falls in Shameful Defeat to Warriors, 139-115
It wasn’t Washington’s proudest moment of the season as they closed out their last West Coast road trip of the season in an embarrassing fashion in a 139-115 loss to the Golden State Warriors on April 2. Beal and reserve forward Bojan Bogdanovich led Washington with 20 points, apiece but the Wizards trailed by 18 points entering the final quarter—then it got worse. The Warriors continued to pile it on and the Wizards even accused former Wizard and current Warrior JaVale McGee of trying to run up the score as he attempted a late three-pointer with the game clock running out. The game was barely competitive and the Wizards appeared anxious to finish a four-game road swing.
April 4: Wizards Break Losing Streak with 118-11 Win over Hornets
Washington returned to action at the Verizon Center on April 4 to host the Charlotte Hornets and battled back from a 12-point halftime lead to earn a 118-111 win and snap a three-game losing streak. Five players scored in double figures as they were paced by Wall’s 23 points, 13 assists and six steals. Reserve sophomore forward Kelly Oubre Jr. tallied 15 points and five rebounds along with fellow reserve Jason Smith, who added 17 points and five rebounds. Washington outscored Charlotte 36-18 in the third quarter and never relinquished the lead. Wall added 14 points and six assists in the third quarter as Washington pushed Charlotte out of playoff position.
April 6: Wizards Survive Close Game over Knicks, 106-103
There’s something about playing in Madison Square Garden that Wall thrives off of and the visiting Wizards followed their captain’s lead in a 106-103 win over the New York Knicks on April 6. Wall dazzled the crowd on the way to 24 points and eight assists while Beal chipped in 25 points aided by 4-of-9 shooting from long range. The Wizards knocked down 14 three-pointers as a team but it was Beal’s last dagger from downtown that broke a 101-101 tie with 49 seconds left to put Washington ahead for good after they blew a 12-point fourth quarter lead.
April 8: Wizards Wilt against Miami Heat, 106-103
Washington returned to the Verizon Center on April 8 for their last home game of the regular season against the Miami Heat. But, a late turnover sabotaged the home squad in a 106-103 loss. Oubre Jr. started in place of season-long starter Otto Porter Jr., who missed the game with back spasms. Oubre has played well as of late. However, his inbound pass—with Washington trailing 104-103 and 11 seconds remaining in the game—sailed over Wall’s head and Miami’s Josh Richardson intercepted it before being fouled and hitting both free throws. Trailing 106-103 with less than 10 seconds remaining, Beal’s three-point attempt was blocked shortly before time expired. Washington’s quest for 50 wins took a serious hit but the Wizards still have two games remaining in the season. Markieff Morris led the team with 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting.
Next: Washington will return to action when they return to the road on April 10 when they visit the Detroit Pistons.