The Wizards midseason funk continues as they drop one to the Hornets 92-88. This is just the second time this year that the Wizards have held their opponent to under 100 points and lost. The loss drops the Wiz to 31-18 which is bad news because the Cavs won their 11th straight and are creeping up the standings quickly.
Al Jefferson and Brian Roberts led the way for the Hornets with 18 points a piece. Gerald Henderson scored 17 points and Gary Neal chipped in 12 for the Hornets off the bench.
For the fourth time in as many games, the Wizards started off slowly. They dumped the ball in to Marcin Gortat with his newly shaved head to try and get him out of his funk. He did score the teams first bucket, a layup, but did not produce much else. The Hornets took an early 15-7 lead and Randy Wittman was forced to call and early timeout. He shuffled the lineup a bit, trying to get any spark possible. Garrett Temple was the first player off the Washington bench followed by Humphries and Otto Porter. Seems like Andre Miller and Rasual Butler are the odd men out from this rotation shuffle.
Once again, Kris Humphries was very active to start the second quarter. Humphries had 13 points and five rebounds including some nice energy on the offensive glass.
The Wizards had no answer for Lance Stephenson and Gary Neal. Lance utilized his shimmy step back to hit a couple of jump shots over Temple. Gary Neal used all the weapons in his arsenal including a couple of nice floaters in the lane and a jump shot from the corner to go on a personal 6-0 run.
The Wizards were able to take their first lead of the game at the 6:03 mark of the second quarter on a three pointer from Bradley Beal. Neither team could pull away as the lead would seesaw back and fourth for the duration of the second quarter. The Wiz had an opportunity to tie the ballgame going into halftime on a Gortat layup but it was ruled that he didn’t get it off in time. Hornets were up 53-51 on 55% shooting.
Once again, the Wizards started the second half very sluggish and didn’t score their first bucket until the 7:31 mark of the third quarter. The Hornets couldn’t stretch the lead too much as they were only up 10.
Bradley Beal started to find a rhythm midway through the quarter connecting on a three pointer and then back to back jump shots. During this lull, Brad is the only player who has stayed consistently aggressive.
Garrett Temple came off the bench and provided some nice defense for the Wizards including three steals in the quarter. The Wiz were able to trim the lead to four and trailed 70-66 going into the fourth.
Nothing came easy for the Wizards in the fourth quarter. The Hornets packed their defense in and made the Wiz shoot over them. This frustrated Kris Humphries and Kevin Seraphin as they weren’t very effective in the quarter. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist hit a open layup at the 1:44 mark to put the Hornets up eight and it looked like this one was over.
John Wall would take the ball straight to the hole, make it and get fouled. This ended a 4:30 field goal drought for the Wiz. On the next possession, John found Paul Pierce on an inbounds pass and he knocked home a three, lead cut to two. Brian Roberts would hit two free throws to ice the game as the Wizards would fall 92-88.
Things don’t get easier as the Wiz travel to Atlanta to take on the Hawks on Wednesday.