Poor defense and an inability to close out close games continued to haunt the Washington Wizards as they fell to a 9-13 record and remained mired in a four-game losing slump.

Washington continues to wait for the return of second-year guard Bradley Beal, who averaged a team-high 20 points per game before injuring his leg last month. In the meantime, Washington has relied upon franchise player John Wall to carry the load. Wall averaged 19 points with 10.3 assists over the last three games, but he’ll need help if Washington hopes to turn their luck around.

Monday, Dec. 9–Denver Escapes Washington with Close Victory

Wall led all scorers with 20 points but missed a potential game-winning layup as the Denver Nuggets escaped with a 75-74 win over the Wizards at the Verizon Center.

Washington had two other opportunities to win the game, but Trevor Ariza missed an open 3-point attempt and Wall had the ball stolen from him in the final seconds.

Ariza finished with 14 points while center Marcin Gortat scored 16 points for Washington. Forward Wilson Chandler led Denver with 17 points while guard Nate Robinson followed with 16 off the bench.

Friday, Dec. 13–Atlanta Trips Wizards in Overtime

Hawks center Al Horford scored a career-high 34 points as Atlanta edged out Washington, 101-99, in overtime at Phillips Arena in Atlanta, Ga.

The loss marked the first of two straight games in which Washington gave up more than 100 points and struggled to defend opponents. Four of Atlanta’s starters scored double digits, including 16 each from forwards Kyle Korver and Paul Milsap.

Trevor Booker led Washington with 24 points but Wall scored just 13 points with 11 assists.

Saturday, Dec. 14–Washington Falls to CP3, Clippers

Wall scored 24 points with 12 assists for Washington but Chris Paul bested him with 38 points and 12 assists as the Los Angeles Clippers won 113-97 at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

Los Angeles led the entire game and simply had too many weapons for Washington to match. The Clippers’ entire starting five scored at least 15 points as guard Jamal Crawford scored 17 points, forward Blake Griffin and forward Jared Dudley each scored 16 points and center DeAndre Jordan added 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Washington’s Kevin Seraphin followed Wall with 16 points.

Next Week:  the Wizards (9-13) will travel to New York to face the Knicks (7-16) on Dec. 16, then to Brooklyn to take on the Nets (8-15) on Dec. 18. Washington then heads to Boston on Dec. 21 to face the Celtics (11-14).

Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO