Win one, lose one. Win two, lose two. Win three, lose three. The Washington Wizards’ season has been up and down, but mostly even-keeled for the young group. The consistent inconsistency has allowed the Wizards a ticket to the Eastern Conference Playoff race. Emerging backcourt stars John Wall and Bradley Beal have been marvelous at times as individuals but rarely together as a duo. The front court has dealt with numerous injuries and the team’s defense has sometimes taken nights off. However, Washington is currently in the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference race and another up and down week did nothing to alter their current standing.
Sun., March 23 – Wizards Fall to Denver, 105-102
A road game against the Denver Nuggets on March 23 continued to expose a lack of consistency from the Wizards. A season-high 24 turnovers fueled Denver’s offense as they turned Washington’s miscues into a 105-102 victory. Wall scored just 15 points and handed out five assists but turned it over eight times in the game. Beal led the team with 21 points and collected seven rebounds but it wasn’t enough as Washington exited a four-game road trip with a 1-3 record.
Wed., March 26 – Hot-Shooting Suns Beat Wizards, 99-92
Washington arrived home to square off with the sizzling Phoenix Suns on March 26 but a hot-shooting Phoenix team missed just one free throw as a team and nailed 14 three-pointers en route to a 99-92 win. The Suns shot 50 percent from deep and built a 25-point second half lead before Washington charged back to cut the lead to four points in the middle of the final quarter. But Phoenix kept Washington at bay with some crisp passes, orchestrated movement and hot shooting. With his team trailing and frustrating fans, Wall scored 24 of his game-high 29 points in the second half as Washington got into a groove. Wall attacked the basket with reckless abandon and simply ran past defenders at time on his way to the basket. Washington was trailing by just three points before Wall’s ex Kentucky teammate Eric Bledsoe nailed a deep three pointer to put Phoenix up six and seal the game.
Fri., March 28 – Washington Routs Pacers, 91-78
A Friday night clash against the Indiana Pacers had meaning for the home standing Wizards. With a shot at revenge against a team that averaged close to a 24-point margin of victory in the prior two contests. And, with a losing streak of their own to snap, Washington stormed out the gate before building a 20-point second-half lead on the way to a 91-78 win. Wall dictated the action with 20 points and eight assists and five players scored in double figures for the Wizards in a much-needed victory. Washington’s defense was crucial down the stretch as it often forced Pacers’ star Paul George (6-of-22 shooting) into a bevy of bad shots while limiting Indiana to just 35 percent from the field and 15 percent from long range.