Wizards fall apart in the fourth as Clippers snap winning streak
Los Angeles- Kawhi Leonard and Paul George combined for 62 points as they were able to put the Wizards longest winning streak in years to rest. The Clippers opened up the game lighting it up from three point land and didn’t look back the entire first half. Washington however, started off slow offensively and showed signs of fatigue throughout the night.
Throughout the first half, Washington dug themselves a hole as George was killing them with his unconscious scoring. George opened up the game with 12 of the Clippers first 14 points, not even 5 minutes after the tip. Washington overall just looked off from what they had been the few nights: Not shooting good shots, giving up easy buckets in transition, and turning the ball over too much.
The Wizards duo of Bradley Beal and Russel Westbrook each had decent games but it wasn’t enough to overcome a very talented Clippers squad. Beal finished with 28 points, Westbrook finished with 20 points, 10 assists, and 9 rebounds. Westbrook was one rebound shy of his ninth triple-double of the season.
The Clippers were missing their number one bench player Lou Williams last night due to injury. However, this proved to be no issue for them when the Clippers bench outscored Washington’s 58-29. In games like these, the bench play is so important for Washington for the moments where Beal and the other leading players need a breather. A lot of the success on the win-streak was due to solid bench play from the Wizards.
Some notable Clippers subs who killed Washington tonight: Reggie Jackson filled it up from deep as he scored 17 points. Ivica Zubac also added 12 points and 12 rebounds for Los Angeles. The guy who stood out most however was Terrance Mann. Mann scored 10 straight points in the fourth quarter for Los Angeles and was an offensive threat from all parts of the court. “Missing Lou, we needed that and they did a really good job,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said.
Washington, after going down 17 at half, had one of their best third quarters of the season and cut the Clippers lead to just five heading into the final quarter of play. Davis Bertans knocked down a couple threes off of Clippers turnovers as the lead was beginning to decline for Los Angeles. Washington had came all the way back and had another miraculous come from behind victory in their sites. The Clippers put those hopes away quickly in the fourth however, hitting eight three pointers in the fourth alone. Washington fell cold from the floor, and the lead for LA quickly began to grow as time was running down. “We’re playing the Clippers. They’re really, really good,” Wizards forward Moe Wagner said. “I don’t look at the fourth quarter, I look at the first half. You can’t let players like that get going or they’re going to pick you apart.” Wagner was referring to guys like George and Leonard who gave Washington’s defense a lot of problems in the final period of play.
The Clippers offense proved to be too much for Washington and the game was officially put out of reach with 5 minutes left in the fourth. Brooks called off his starters and was ready to accept defeat for the night. “Guys were pretty disappointed that we didn’t play better,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. The game ended in a final score of 135-116. A 5 point deficit to start the fourth quickly ended in a 19 point blowout for Washington.
Although Washington lost, the start to the road-trip for Washington was phenomenal taking 2 of the first three, and especially nice taking out some tough opponents in Portland and the Lakers. Washington just appeared to run out of gas tonight. It was the second game of a back-to-back on the west coast. Never an easy task to win games like that. By the fourth quarter, the fatigue definitely set in, and it showed. Washington continues their trip on Thursday where they take on a tough Nuggets team in Denver. Washington has beaten Denver this year. It’s vital the Wizards regroup from this loss and can repeat what they did against the Nuggets last week. Good team defense is the key for Washington. We know the Wizards can score: They can’t let their defense put them out of the games.