The Washington Wizards opened the week with a statement win, then became part of a statement loss to close the week. It was an up-and-down holiday season for the Wizards—while the team impressed in some games, their pair of losses were frustrating and depressing. John Wall and Bradley Beal continue to play at a high level and the bench has played significantly better after a horrid start to the season. The AFRO recaps the week that was for the Washington Wizards.
Dec: 18: Wizards Pour it On to Down Clippers, 117-110
Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) defends against LA Clippers guard Chris Paul, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Washington, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
The Wizards opened the week on Dec. 18 with a home showcase against the Western Conference powerhouse Los Angeles Clippers, and put on a show in front of the Verizon Center in a 117-110 win. Beal scored a game-high 41 points, nailing six-of-10 from long range and scoring 18 points in the third. Washington scored 65 points in the second half, sending Clippers coach Doc Rivers into a tirade that got him ejected. John Wall added 18 points and 11 assists and Markieff Morris poured in 23 points and nine rebounds. Beal’s night was both efficient and impressive enough for Clippers point guard Chris Paul to take notice. “In order for this team to be as good as they probably want to be, he (Beal) got to be like that,” Paul told reporters.
Dec. 19: Young, Pacers Down Washington in Closing Seconds, 107-105
The Wizards returned to action on Dec. 19 in a road visit against the Indiana Pacers. Despite a late comeback, Washington dropped a 107-105 heartbreaker on a last-second shot from Thaddeus Young with 0.9 seconds remaining. Beal led all scorers with 22 points and Marcin Gortat added 21 points and 13 rebounds in the win. Washington tied the game 105-105 on a Beal jump shot with 15 seconds left. Overtime appeared likely, but Young’s floater took away any chance of an extra period.
Dec. 22: Wizards Outgun Bulls in Fourth Quarter for 107-97 Win
Washington Wizards’ Trey Burke (33) shoots over the out stretched arms of Chicago Bulls’ Taj Gibson (22) and Dwyane Wade (3) as Markieff Morris (5) watches during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016, in Chicago. The Wizards won 107-97. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Washington took back to the road on Dec. 22 when they squared off against the Chicago Bulls and claimed a 107-97 victory. Washington outscored Chicago 30-20 in the final period, breaking out of a game-long tie to gain the edge in a pivotal quarter. Wall scored 23 points and Beal added 21 points as the Wizards’ backcourt once again paced the team. Gortat added 14 points and 11 rebound. Washington fell down by 13 points early but battled back behind Gortat controlling the middle and Wall and Beal running the perimeter.
Dec. 24: Bucks Blowout Wizards, 123-96 on Christmas Eve
Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) drives to the basket against Washington Wizards’ Sheldon McClellan during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Dec. 23, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)
With another road game to close out the week, Washington didn’t bring forth the same effort in a blowout loss to the Milwaukee Bucks 123-96 on Dec. 24. Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo had a career night, scoring 39 points, eight rebounds and six rebounds. Five Bucks scored in double-figures and Milwaukee ran through the Wizards defense with ease, shooting 56 percent from the field and 36 percent from deep. Wall and Beal combined to shoot 11-of-28 from the field and committed six turnovers.
Next: Washington returns to action on Dec. 26 when they host the Bucks back at the Verizon Center.