The Wizards Lose Their Second Straight Despite a Huge Fourth Quarter
The Wizards explode for a massive fourth quarter, almost tripling the points the Hornets scored in the final 12 minutes, but fall short inside of the final minute. That was their second straight loss, as they lost on Wednesday to the Brooklyn Nets after Durant had a huge 39-point night.
Washington has struggled heavily on the road this season, losing their last 5 road games, all of which were within 10 points.
Last night was an on-and-off night for the Wiz. They started the game soundly, but slow middle frames had them trailing 88-107 going into the fourth. A big part of this was a poor night for Deni Avdija, who didn’t even start the second half with the other starters and amassed 0 points in 9 minutes through the entire night. This is how Deni has been this season, really quiet or booming for 20+ points. Finding him that consistency will be key for coach Unseld Jr.
It wasn’t all bad for the Wiz, having 6 players, including 2 off the bench, reach double-digit points. Daniel Gafford was one of those off the bench. He netted 10 points, but his real impact came without the ball in his hands. Gafford brought in a team-high 12 rebounds and sent 6 shots back. Korey Kispert was the other Wizard off the bench who put together a nice night. Kispert filled Avdija’s role with the starting five in the second half but did most of his damage in the first half, where he scored 9 of his 17 points on 3 triples.
Despite a sour loss, Brad had one of the best games of his season so far. Beal scored a season-high 33 points on 50% shooting. He put the cherry on top by dishing out 7 assists. Without Beal, the Wizards would not be in close games down the stretch because he is the engine of the offense all 4th quarter long, going to his signature step-back time and time again.
Washington trey balls still haven’t been able to fall at the rate they were earlier in the season, and last night was another slower outing from deep. A big reason for the struggle was Kristaps not finding any rhythm from the top of the key. He would finish 0-for-6 from deep.
The Wiz were also not capable of handling the ball smoothly, turning the ball over 14 times to the Hornets 4 times. This allowed the Hornets to get numbers going the other way and score 24 points off the forced turnovers.
Charlotte’s starters drove them to the narrow win with 3 starters, Terry Rozier, Kelly Oubre Jr., and P.J. Washington, all-surpassing 20 points. And it was Oubre Jr. and Rozier keeping their hands active to record 2 steals each, most of which came when the Wizards were driving to the basket.
The game came down to the Wizards’ turnovers, which is a trend when you look at their games lost by so few points. If the Wiz can limit these turnovers, many games like these will be in the win column instead.
Washington is now 11-12 and sits 10th in the Eastern Conference. They head back home to host LeBron and the Lakers on Sunday at 6 pm EST.