Turnover bug bites Wizards as they lose their second straight
Washington- Coming off a gut-wrenching loss to Boston on Sunday, the Wizards looked to get back on track at home against the Memphis Grizzlies. Memphis, being a team known to steal the ball, made it oh so important Washington took care of the ball tonight. The Wizards chose the worst night to be careless with the ball, and it lead to a brutal defeat on their home floor.
Washington started off the game on the right track. The Wizards forced five turnovers early which lead to them jumping out to an early 18-10 lead. Westbrook led the way for the Wizards assists all five of the Wizards first field goals. Westbrook finished with a ridculous six assists in the first quarter alone.
Bradley Beal and Robin Lopez each scored eight in the first which helped propel the Wizards ahead. However, late in the first quarter, Washington began to cool down. Washington was having early success attacking the basket and scoring. For some reason, the Wizards moved away from that offensively and began to fall apart. Jonas Valanciunas even had three fouls early from the Wizards going at him. With Vanlanciunas sent to the bench, it didn’t make sense for Washington to stop penetrating towards the basket.
Once Washington started to struggle offensively, the game completely became out of their control. During the second quarter, the Wizards began to play carelessly with the ball. Ja Morant and the Grizzlies made the Wizards pay. 12 Washington turnovers led to a 22-4 run by the Grizzlies. Washington’s turnovers also were starting to hurt them defensively because they were having to play in transition so much. Memphis broke out and took a 71-55 lead into halftime.
The third quarter started off better for the Wizards at first, getting off to an early 7-0 run. After that run, the sloppy basketball returned for the Wizards as Morant and Valanciunas began to take the game into their control. Memphis used a 10-2 run and a few other stretches of play to take a 23 point lead at one point. The Wizards look lifeless and were playing effortless. Defensively, some of those issues from earlier in the year were beginning to appear again. Allowing players to drive middle, not closing out shooters, and getting out worked on the offensive glass was killing Washington.
Washington went into the fourth trailing by 18. The Wizards began to play with some urgency as they desperately tried to get back into the game. Beal and Hachimura heated up knocking down open jumpers, and the Wizards were slowly creeping back in. A 20 point lead suddenly with 6 minutes to go became only a 10 point lead for Memphis. Ultimately, the comeback effort wasn’t enough as the Grizzlies were able to effectively use the clock to their advantage and hold the lead. The lead never got below 10 points as Memphis closed out the Wizards.
Washington lost 125-111 and fell to 13-20 on the season. Just as Washington was starting to pick up momentum, they have now lost two straight.
Dylan Brooks had a great game for Memphis scoring 20 points and doing a terrific job with the tall task of defending Beal. Morant dominated with 35 points and 10 assists. Morant is going to be a special player in this league for a long time.
Beal and Westbrook each had 23 points but 22 turnovers as a team is unacceptable. Washington can’t ever expect to win a game playing that carelessly with the ball. The Wizards seem to have been shook from that loss against Boston. They can’t make this a trend as the second half of the season is now upon us. With the All-Star break coming, the Wizards have a very difficult road ahead especially already in the hole they have dug themselves. If the Wizards can’t get back to how they played in February, it’s going to be a long second half for them.