Wizards Don’t Handle Ball Well, Losing to the Pelicans at Home
The Wizards turned the ball over 20 times in a 20-point loss to the New Orleans Pelicans at home. The Pelicans were able to dominate the Wizards through all four quarters on Monday night despite not having Zion Williamson (hamstring) and Brandon Ingram (toe).
However, CJ McCollum returned to the Pelicans’ starting line-up after missing Saturday’s game against the Mavericks. McCollum returned with a hunger that the Pelicans were looking for coming into the District shorthanded. CJ scored 34 points while shooting 57% from the field, along with 5 rebounds and 2 steals.
New Orleans finished the night with 9 steals, and you best bet Jose Alvarado recorded one of those steals, and 5 blocks, showing off their quick hands and strong team defensive play. As a matter of fact, the Pelicans were so good defensively that their defense turned to offense, scoring just under 40 points of the forced turnovers. There is no doubt that the Wizards will be working on their ball handling, along with transition defense between now and when the Bulls are in town.
Another area the Wizards were lackluster all night was in the paint. Pelicans center, Jonas Valanciunas, was having everything go his way (except the 5 fouls he accumulated). Valanciunas netted 27 points on 10-15 shooting and 12 rebounds. The Pelicans as a team scored 74 of their 132 points in the paint.
Finally, Rui recorded another rough night. He only dropped 9 points while shooting 4-12, including 1-3 from deep, brought in 3 rebounds, and dished out only 1 helper in the 27 minutes he played. Getting Hachimura to find a flow is crucial for the Wizards if they want to find success moving forward.
Now for the good.
The Wizards were able to shoot efficiently, a step up from their last game against the Thunder. Washington shot over 50% from the field and over 40% from downtown despite the loss. The 3-point shooting percentage was boosted from a 5-10 night from deep from Corey Kispert and a 3-5 night from that range on behalf of Kristaps Porzingis.
Another positive was the fact that all five of the Wizards’ starters reached double-digits when it came to points. Kuzma had 19, Kispert had 17, Porzingis 23, Gafford 13, and Monte Morris had 13 as well. Porzingis would also haul in 10 rebounds to tally another double-double on the year, plus keeping a clean sheet in the foul column.
Washington doesn’t have time to sit on the loss, having only one day between now and their date with the visiting Chicago Bulls (19-22) on Wednesday. The Wiz will have their hands full attempting to contain Demar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, and Nikola Vucevic. Tip-off for that game is scheduled for 7 pm EST.