Washington Wizards’ John Wall drives as Phoenix Suns’ Markieff Morris (11) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
A four-game road trip out West seemed like a lark for the Washington Wizards, based on the opponents they would face, but Western games are never easy. For a team trying to cement themselves as one of the best in the East, road affairs often define a squad and their chemistry.
After dropping their previous two games, the Wizards were anxious to get a new week started. For players such as John Wall, Nene, Marcin Gortat and Bradley Beal, setting the tone in road games is pivotal to the team’s success. How did they fare over the previous week? The AFROrecaps the week that was for the Washington Wizards.
Jan. 25: Wizards Hang On Against Nuggets in OT
Washington opened a new week with a Jan. 25 matchup against the Denver Nuggets. While the Nuggets haven’t been the most efficient team this season, they possess no shortage of talent. That talent was evident as the Wizards battled them tooth and nail to hang on to a 117-115 overtime win. Washington trailed early in the final quarter before tying the game late. With the game tied and less than two seconds on the clock, Denver star forward Kenneth Faried missed two crucial free throws to send the game into overtime. Wall posted six points in overtime, finishing the game with 19 points total, and Washington put six players into double figures to help offset Ty Lawson’s game-high 31 points for Denver.
Jan. 27: Wall, Beal Rally Wizards to Avoid Upset in L.A.
The Wizards didn’t make things easier for themselves on Jan. 27 in Los Angeles as the Lakers rushed to a 19-point lead in the first half. But Wall (21 points, 13 assists) and Beal (19 points) helped spark a Washington rally, and the Wizards outscored Los Angeles by 17 points in the second half to top the home team, 98-92. Lakers guard Wayne Ellington scored a game-high 28 points, but cooled off considerably in the deciding moments of the game. The Wizards didn’t escape unscathed, however: Wall sprained his ankle late in the final quarter after stepping on a camera man along the baseline. He limped noticeably for the ensuing minutes and finished the game, but the effects would show the following night.
Jan. 28: Wizards Limp in Lopsided Loss to Suns
Whether due to Wall’s injured ankle, or playing back-to-back games, the Wizards limped out of the gate against the running Phoenix Suns in Arizona on Jan. 28. Washington trailed by 17 points at halftime, but rallied late to save face in a 106-98 defeat. Reserves Otto Porter (14 points, 3-of-4 from three-point range) and Kevin Seraphin (nine points) helped the Wizards get back on track in the second half. Washington trailed by as many as 22 points in the first half before shaving the lead down to just four points on two separate occasions in the final quarter. Phoenix had an answer for each Wizards’ rally, and Goran Dragic scored a game-high 20 points for the Suns. Washington sorely missed Nene, who sat out the game to rest a sore right foot. Five Wizards scored in double figures, with Porter and Gortat tying for the team-high with 14 points apiece.