After playing just four games in 17 days, the pace was sure to pick up for the Washington Wizards this week as they prepared for a stretch of four games in five nights.
The sequence squared the Wizards off against a quartet of tough Eastern Conference teams who are all playing better basketball than the struggling Wizards. Washington rode a three-game win streak into what turned out to be a disastrous week for star guards John Wall and Bradley Beal, along with the rest of the Wizards team. The AFRO recaps the week that was for the Washington Wizards.
Nov. 24: Pacers Accurate from Deep, Top Wizards 123-106
Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) shoots between Indiana Pacers forward Lavoy Allen (5) and center Jordan Hill (27) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015, in Washington. The Pacers won 123-106. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Washington opened up their busy week with a home matchup against the Indiana Pacers on Nov. 24. The home fans were treated to a shooting display from the Pacers, who shot 73 percent from deep and nailed 19 three pointers en route to a 123-106 win. Indiana’s Paul George, C.J. Miles and George Hill combined to shoot 17-of-22 from long range. Washington simply couldn’t keep up, and was outscored by 16 points in the second half. The Wizards were led by Wall (18 points, five assists, four rebounds) and Beal (20 points, two steals) but Washington simply couldn’t slow down the Pacers’ hot-shooting trio.
Nov. 25: Wizards Collapse in 101-87 Loss to Charlotte
The Wizards traveled to Charlotte on Nov. 25 for the second half of back-to-back games, but didn’t receive a better effort from their star players in a 101-87 defeat. Reserve guard Gary Neal led the team with 18 points while both Wall and Beal struggled, combining to shoot 12-of-34 from the field. Washington led by seven points going into the final quarter but an epic collapse doomed another road trip as Charlotte outscored Washington, 27-6, in the quarter. The Hornets dominated in the paint, outscoring the visitors 46-22. The Wizards shot just 35 percent from the field while six Hornets scored in double figures.
Nov. 27: Celtics’ Hot Start Dooms Wizards, 111-78
A road game against Boston on Nov. 27 ended before it even got started. The Celtics opened the game with a 27-10 run and ended the first half with a 54-36 lead, ultimately clobbering Washington, 111-78. Boston led by as many as 38 points, and six Celtics scored double-figures. Reserve forward Jared Dudley led the team with 19 points while Wall (10 points) and Beal (16 points) were once again ineffective as Boston seized control from the opening tip.
Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) drives against Toronto Raptors forward Terrence Ross (31) in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015, in Washington. The Raptors won 84-82. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Nov. 28: Toronto Buzzer-Beater Spoils Washington’s Return Home, 84-82
A return to the Verizon Center on Nov. 28, should have boosted the Wizards against the Toronto Raptors but a buzzer-beating three pointer dealt Washington a 84-82 loss. With the Wizards leading, 82-81, Wall had a chance to extend their margin to three points with back-to-back free throws. But he missed both and the Raptors corralled the rebound with three seconds left in the game. Toronto’s DeMarr DeRozan sunk a three-pointer to seal the game, quieting the Verizon Center and handing Washington their fourth straight loss. Beal led the team with 20 points but once again Beal and Wall failed to make an impact in the final quarter. Washington shot just 32 percent from the field and only 30 percent from long range.
Analysis: Washington’s start to the season has been unimpressive. The team’s defense has been weak and neither Wall nor Beal has taken the next step in their development. The Wizards don’t do anything especially well and coach Randy Wittman hasn’t made any major adjustments to the lineup or team strategy.
Next: Washington will be on the road with a Dec. 1 matchup against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Wizards then host Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers on Dec. 2, followed by a home game against the Phoenix Suns on Dec. 4.