Wizards overcome Kemba’s 47 points in 130-126 win over Hornets

Just when you think you have this team all figured out, the Wizards turns in one of their best performances of the season with a 130-126 victory over the Charlotte Hornets Saturday evening. Seven Wizards players scored in double-figures led by Trevor Ariza with 24 points and a near triple-double with nine assists and seven rebounds.

This game had a somber feel from the start. After the news broke that John Wall would miss the remainder of the season to undergo surgery on his heel, no one knew what to expect from the Wizards tonight.

The Wizards looked stuck in the mud early and fell in a quick 15-7 hole. Things changed when Sam Dekker and Troy Brown Jr. checked in for Washington. The duo provided energy off the bench that the team desperately needed as they were able to claw back in this one and trailed by just two, 29-27 after one quarter.

Washington kicked it into gear in the second quarter as they were able to get a lot of quality shots in the paint. The Wizards didn’t get too many transition opportunities but were able to exploit mismatches for easy buckets around the rim. Washington scored 40 points on a blistering 72 percent from the field in the second quarter to take a six-point lead into halftime.

Kemba Walker, who was outstanding in the first half (17 points) cranked things up a notch in the second half. He single-handedly carried the scoring load for Charlotte in the third quarter to make it a one-possession game heading into the fourth quarter.

There were multiple instances where it looked like Washington might pull away in this one. An 8-0 run highlighted by three-pointers from Tomas Satoransky and Trevor Ariza put the Wizards up 111-105 early midway through the quarter. But Walker wouldn’t let the Hornets go down without a fight. He scored 10 straight points for Charlotte but they still trailed 125-119 with 23 seconds left — and that’s when things got chaotic.

Charlotte got a quick layup after the Wizards were unable to inbound the ball successfully. Seconds later, Satoransky was fouled but missed both free throws. Walker took the rebound and raced the other way for a layup to cut the lead to two. After Bradley Beal made a pair of free throws from Beal, Walker countered with a three to trim the lead down to one, but Jeff Green’slong pass to Trevor Ariza for a layup and foul sealed the deal as Washington escaped with the 130-126 victory.

Takeaways

Everybody Eats

In John Wall’s first game out since the announcement that he would miss the remainder of the season to surgically repair his heel, the next logical question was, ‘who would step up?’ Tonight, everyone did.

Only eight Wizards players saw playing time and seven of the eight cracked double-figures in scoring. On top of that, the ball was zipping side to side, guys were cutting through the lane, and there were very few stagnant possessions for a Wizards team that combined for 35 assists on 48 made baskets.

Now, ‘Everyone Eats’ isn’t just about ball movement and assists — it includes making the hustle plays too. Thomas Bryant was a menace on the offensive glass and Washington won the 50/50 balls like this one that led to extra scoring opportunities.

This game was a very pleasant surprise, however, we’ll have to wait and see if they can sustain this once the team settles into a new normal.

There’s a new big 3 in town (for a half)

Please raise your hand if you thought the trio of Troy Brown Jr., Sam Dekker, and Chasson Randle would be key contributors in this one.

The trio was outstanding in the first half. As mentioned, the Wizards were very sluggish to start this one and it was Dekker and Brown’s energy off the Washington bench that injected a jolt in this team. Dekker was sprinting the floor and moving well without the ball, resulting in some very easy buckets all in the painted area.

After receiving a DNP-CD just the night before, Brown Jr. got playing time in the first quarter and made the most of it. Like Dekker, it was the hustle and energy plays that provided a spark for this team, and knocking down a 3-pointer helped as well.

Chasson Randle knocked down a nice step back three-pointer in the first half to give Washington the lead and was the recipient of some nice tic-tac-toe passing for this transition basket.

The trio combined for a near-perfect 11-of-12 from the field and scored 29 of the Wizards 67 first-half points.

Brooks goes with an 8-man rotation

After getting heavily criticized for playing Ron Baker and Ian Mahinmi extended minutes, neither of those guys saw the floor tonight as Brooks opted to go with a short bench where only eight guys saw playing time. Brown Jr. received all of Baker’s minutes tonight (17) and Thomas Bryant played 35 minutes, the most he’s played in a non-overtime game this season.

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Bulls at Wizards Final Score: Washington’s offense goes ice-cold in 101-92 loos to Chicago

Washington’s offense goes ice cold as they fall to Chicago, 101-92 in their latest embarrassing loss of the season. Bradley Beal scored a game-high 34 points but didn’t get much help elsewhere as the next highest scorer for the Wizards was Thomas Bryant with 12 points.

After a hard to watch, slog it out the first quarter, the Wizards somehow held the lead, 22-20. But that’s when things went south. Washington, playing without the services of John Wall, Markieff Morris, and Otto Porter tonight were forced to go deep into their bench. As a result, Scott Brooks trotted out Chasson Randle, Ron Baker, Tomas Satoransky, Sam Dekker, and Ian Mahinmi to start the second period. And to no one’s surprise, the offense came to a screeching halt.

After a Dekker layup to put Washington up 24-20, the Wizards would be held without a point over the next 5:30 of the quarter. Washington’s offense finally woke up as they ended the quarter on a 13-4 run somehow taking a 42-40 lead into halftime.

In the first half, it was the offense that disappeared, in the second half, it was the defense. The Bulls, who have the NBA’s worst offense only mustered up 40 points in the first half yet, somehow scored 34 in the third quarter to take control of the game.

The Wizards had a few last-ditch efforts but Chicago had an answer every time to keep Washington at bay. Washington falls 101-92 to a taking Bulls squad in what looks like their worst loss of the season to date.

Scott Brooks is in over his head

Yes, the Wizards were shorthanded tonight but some of Brooks’ rotations were egregious. To start the second quarter, when the Wizards managed just two points over the first six minutes, he had Randle-Baker-Satoransky-Dekker-Mahinmi on the floor. The Wizards struggled to score and frankly, do much of anything with that lineup on the floor but luckily their opponent is equally as bad so the game wasn’t lost there.

Meanwhile, Washington’s first-round pick in Troy Brown Jr. still couldn’t get any minutes even though the Wizards were shorthanded and trotted out arguably the worst five-man lineup we’ve seen this season.

What’s next?

With the loss, Washington falls to 13-23 and hasn’t looked anything close to a team that might turn things around. To make matters worse, the schedule is about to get a whole lot tougher. With one game left in 2018 against Charlotte, the Wizards kick off the New Year with the following schedule – ATL, @MIA, @OKC, @PHI, PHI, MIL, TOR. Aside from the Atlanta game, the Wizards will be underdogs in every one of those games making a free fall to a 14-30 record very possible.

Will that be enough for the front office to finally make a change or would they still feel that a playoff push is in this team? We all know the answer but do the people calling the shots know it?

Wizards run out of gas, fall to Pacers 105-89

Seven Pacers players score in double-figures led by Myles Turner with 18 points as Indiana downed a tired Washington squad, 105-89 on Sunday.

Only four Wizards players cracked double-figures in the game, led by Markieff Morris with 16 off the bench, but it wouldn’t be nearly enough as this one had ‘schedule loss’ written all over it after their thrilling triple overtime win over the Suns on Saturday evening.

The Wizards played about as well as one would hope to start this game. Even though the Wizards turned the ball over six times in the opening period and shot just 8-for-18 from the field, they found themselves down just two points one quarter.

After a John Wall turnover, it looked like the Pacers might open the floodgates up in this one as the ball found it’s way to Bojan Bogdanovic in the corner for a three-pointer giving Indiana a 44-32 lead. But Washington had an answer. Back-to-back threes from Morris and Jeff Green trimmed the Pacers lead to six and the Wizards were able to get as close as three after Thomas Bryant converted an and-one opportunity.

Indiana would counter with a 7-0 run of their own to take a 53-43 lead into halftime.

You usually don’t see fatigue in teams on the second half of a back-to-back until the second half — and that was the case for Washington. After hanging around, the Pacers ripped off a 16-1 extended run to open the game up 76-57 in the third quarter.

The deficit would be too much to overcome as Scott Brooks emptied the bench for the entire fourth quarter to close this one out as Washington was held to a season-low 89 points in the loss.

Takeaways

Wizards fall apart in the third quarter

The Wizards did a good job hanging around in this one during the first half, which was really all you could ask for from a team playing the second half of a back-to-back in less than 24 hours. Once the adrenaline wore off and the dead legs kicked in, Washington’s chance of sneaking away with a victory went out the window.

Washington was only able to muster 18 points in the third quarter as they were outscored 31-18 in the period.

However, the highlight of the period came on a basket that didn’t count. Bradley Beal stole the ball from a Pacers player, passed it off to Trevor Ariza who found a streaking Green for a monstrous dunk over Victor Oladipo.

This basket was waived off due to an offensive foul, but that doesn’t take away from how spectacular this dunk was.

Turnovers haunt the Wizards

The Wizards were in the giving spirit as they coughed the ball up 22 times, equaling the number they gave up the night before. John Wall was the main culprit with seven turnovers on the evening, including six in the first half.

No turnover is good, however, the ones the Wizards committed tonight would rank lowest on the totem pole. Too many times, guys would try to thread the needle after driving into a crowded lane or they’d turn it over attempting to save a loose ball heading out of bounds only to lead to transition opportunities for the Pacers.

The first half would have been a whole lot closer however the Wizards committed 13 turnovers leading to 20 Indiana points. Nine second-half turnovers added insult to injury as you aren’t going to win many games when committing 22 turnovers.

Washington gets nothing from their backcourt

Bradley Beal played over 50 minutes last night and you could tell. He looked gassed from the get-go and as a result, was only able to muster up seven points on 2-for-11 shooting in just 23 minutes of action.

John Wall on the other hand, was playing like a guy on the second half of a back-to-back, except he didn’t play last night due to flu-like symptoms that seemed to still be affecting his play. His numbers were equally as bad as he also only scored seven points and turned the ball over seven times.

The Wizards aren’t going to be competitive in games when these guys only combine for 14 points.

Wizards vs. Lakers Final Score: Washington blows out Los Angeles 128-110 behind a monster 40-point game from John Wall

Things usually don’t end well when LeBron James steps foot in Capital One Arena. But Washington limited James to just 13 points and flipped the script as they ran the Lakers off the court, 128-110 on Sunday evening.

John Wall led the way for Washington with a season-high 40 points for a shorthanded Wizards team playing without Otto Porter Jr. for the third straight game and the newest member of the Wizards, Trevor Ariza, who had to sit this one out while this weekend’s trade waits to be approved.

Bradley Beal scored 25 points, the eighth straight time he’s eclipsed the 20-point mark and Jeff Green and Sam Dekker added 20 a piece for a Wizards squad that teased us for a night, showing us what this team could look like when it is clicking on all cylinders.

Washington stormed out in this one on a 24-8 run over the first five minutes of the game forcing Luke Walton to burn two early timeouts. The Wizards were on fire as they connected on their first five field goals and 12 of their first 17. But after nine brilliant minutes of basketball, the Wizards were a bit too loosey-goosey to close the quarter as the Lakers used a 13-5 run to cut the Wizards lead to 10, 33-23 after one quarter.

Things really opened up for Washington in the second quarter as they were able to push the pace. The Wizards used to pride themselves on getting out in transition but that hasn’t been the case this season. Tonight, the Wizards looked like their old selves as they relentlessly pushed the ball, especially on live ball Laker turnovers which allowed them to take control of the game midway through the second quarter.

With just seconds remaining in the first half, Wall hit an arcing jumper over Tyson Chandler to give the Wizards a 71-51 lead going into halftime.

Washington’s lead ballooned to 27 points at one point in the second half and the Wizards barely had to break a sweat as the Lakers never came within striking distance. Capital One Arena was filled with many purple and gold uniforms hoping to see a big game from James but they were silenced as Wall that stole the show.

Takeaways

2016-2017 John Wall shows up tonight

John Wall turned in by far his best performance of the season with 40 points, 14 assists, and 6 rebounds, with most his damage coming in the first half. Wall came out like a man on a mission early on as he pushed the ball in transition and fearlessly attacked the rim, very reminiscent of the 2016-2017 version of John Wall who made an All-NBA team.

The biggest difference from Wall tonight came on the defensive end and that set the tone for the rest of the team. Wall was much more energetic both on the perimeter and when LeBron tried backing him down in the post? He didn’t back down from the challenge.

Wall snagged three steals and had two emphatic blocks making everyone wonder, where is this defensive effort on a nightly basis?

Offensively, Wall was equally as impressive too. Tonight was one of those nights where guys had to keep their heads on a swivel because if you were open, John Wall was finding you.

Here, he threw a between the legs pass in transition for Sam Dekker who did the rest:

And here, he easily penetrated the paint to find Thomas Bryant for an easy dunk:

Take a bow, John.

An outstanding first half sets the tone for the night

On the heels of a trade, shipping Kelly Oubre Jr. and Austin Rivers out to Phoenix just one day ago, it was unclear how the Wizards would come out to start this game. However, all of those questions would be put to rest early on in arguably the Wizards best half of the season.

Washington stormed out of the gate for a double-digit lead just minutes into the ballgame. The Wizards connected on their first five field goals and 12-of-17 overall and if they would have been able to knock down some of their open three-pointers, the first half could have been even more lopsided.

Washington came out with an energy and sense of urgency that we’ve seldom seen this season. Guys were active defensively evidenced as they logged eight steals in the first half and turned 14 Lakers turnovers into 17 first-half points.

The Wizards dropped 71 points and were up 20 at halftime which begs the question, why can’t Washington bring this kind of energy in, heck, 75 percent of their games?

Sam Dekker turns in his best performance in a Wizards uniform

He’s only played in four games for Washington, but tonight, Dekker showed that he has the potential to be a rotation player for this team. Dekker, who saw more minutes due to the absence of Porter, Ariza, and Kelly Oubre Jr., but also got more playing time as Markieff Morris caught an elbow in the first half to the head and missed the remainder of the game.

Dekker scored 20 points on an efficient 10-15 shooting to go along with five rebounds and four assists. Most thought the trade for Dekker was just a cash-saving move and that he’d rarely see the floor. This game might have folks thinking a little bit differently.

Celtics at Wizards Final Score: Irving scores 38 in overtime thriller, drops Washington 130-125

Sometimes you just have to tip your cap.

Kyrie Irving scored a game-high 38 points with none bigger than a deep three-pointer in overtime with just seconds remaining to put the Celtics up for good as Boston drops Washington, 130-125.

In what turned out to be a vintage John Wall game, Wall flirted with a triple-double as he dropped 34 points to go along with 13 assists and 6 rebounds. Kelly Oubre continued his hot December with 20 points off the bench while Bradley Beal and Jeff Green added 22 a piece but it wouldn’t be enough to overcome Boston’s late-game execution down the stretch.

After getting outscored 38-22 in the third quarter and trailing 84-77, it looked like Washington was toast. But that’s when John Wall and the Wizards woke up. Washington opened the fourth quarter on an 8-0 run to regain the lead 85-84 in the blink of an eye. Wall re-entered the game and asserted himself right away with a lob to Thomas Bryant for the dunk bringing a buzz to Capital One Arena.

And that’s when the point guard duel began. John Wall and Kyrie Irving have had many epic battles in the past and the only difference this time was that Irving was wearing a Celtics jersey. Whenever Irving and the Celtics scored, Wall answered with a bucket of his own. Wall was relentless in attacking the rim in the fourth quarter as he got to the hole with ease.

With just 13 seconds remaining and the Wizards looking dead in the water, Bradley Beal went to the free-throw line. He made the first free-throw to cut the lead to two, 113-111. He missed his second free-throw but miraculously, it bounced right to him as he laid it in for a layup to tie the ballgame at 113 as we’d be heading to overtime.

The Celtics out-hustled the Wizards on the offensive glass to start the overtime period resulting in easy putback attempts and regaining the lead, 118-114. But just like in regulation, Wall continued to attack the hole and finish.

There was a scary sequence for Wall when he drove through the lane and got tangled up with Irving resulting in him landing awkwardly. After a quick breather, Wall would re-enter the game.

With the Wizards up 123-122, Wall crowded Irving on the wing but Kyrie pulled up for a three as Boston regained the lead, 125-123. Next time down with the game tied at 125, Kyrie would splash in a three from Montgomery County for the dagger putting Boston up for good.

Boston wins an overtime thriller, 130-125.

Wizards vs. Hawks final score: Bradley Beal’s 36 lift Washington to 131-117 win over Atlanta

Six Wizards players score in double-figures, led by Bradley Beal with a season-high 36 as the Wizards took down the Hawks on Wednesday evening, 131-117. Otto Porter scored 20 and Kelly Oubre added 19 points off the bench for a short-handed Wizards squad that was without the services of John Wall (personal reasons) and Jeff Green (sore back) in Atlanta.

After a lackluster start to the game, the Wizards found their footing once they made the decision to lock in defensively. After getting crushed on the glass 11-5 to start this one, Washington ramped up the intensity and took the lead midway through the first quarter. A Thomas Bryant putback dunk followed by a couple of offensive rebounds to keep possessions alive got the Wizards going in this one.

Troy Brown Jr. got some first quarter playing time as a result of the team’s depth issues and took advantage of it early. Beal drove baseline and found the rookie for a floater in the lane for his first basket. A couple of possessions later, Brown returned the favor by gathering an offensive rebound and kicking it to Beal for a three-pointer as the Wizards took an eight point lead after one.

The Wizards opened this one up in the second quarter thanks to their bench. Kelly Oubre Jr.brought instant energy off the bench, scoring 12 points in the second quarter as Washington’s lead ballooned to 23 heading into halftime. It was arguably their best defensive half of the season and it was one of their best on the offensive end as well, as they assisted on 17 of their 24 made baskets.

After a stellar defensive performance in the first half, Washington turned in a clunker in the third quarter. They gave up 45 points in the period, which allowed Atlanta to get right back in the game. Two sloppy plays by Markieff Morris near the end of the quarter allowed the Hawks to get what was a 25-point lead back down to single digits heading into the fourth quarter.

With the Wizards lead trimmed down to five, 105-100 with ten minutes left, Tomas Satoranskycame up with a big three-pointer in transition that shifted the momentum back in Washington’s favor. The Wizards were able to take back control after that three and cruise to their third straight win, and ninth win in their last 14 games.

Takeaways

Bradley Beal calmly dominates the game

It’s really hard to score a quiet 36 points but Bradley Beal did it in this game. He was clearly the best player on the floor this evening and he played like it, scoring a season-high 36 points this evening and dishing out a team-high nine assists for Washington.

He was outstanding early on slicing his way to the basket and taking his man off the dribble for some close-in shots, leading the Wizards with 21 points at halftime.

Whenever the Wizards needed a basket in the second half once things were a little close for comfort, Beal stepped up to the plate. Whether it was a floater in the lane or a three-pointer from the wing, he gave the Wizards just what they needed to keep the Hawks at bay. He channeled the best parts of how he played during the ‘Everyone Eats’ phase last season to help Washington overcome John Wall’s absence.

Tomas Satoransky turns in a rock-solid performance

With John Wall sitting this one out due to personal reasons, that opened the door for Tomas Satoransky to run the show at point. He was outstanding tonight with 14 points on 5-7 shooting and knocked down some timely three-pointers in the fourth quarter when Atlanta clawed back within striking distance.

Scoring aside, he pitched a near-perfect game everywhere else. He led the charge defensively for Washington, forcing two steals and dished out seven assists without committing a turnover.

The Kelly Oubre experience takes its show on the road

Kelly Oubre has been frustratingly up-and-down all season and tonight, he continued one of his odd trends – he’s playing much better on the road than at home. After a 21-point night against the Knicks on Monday, he followed it up with 19 points and 5 rebounds in Atlanta.

Unlike Monday where he caught fire from deep, he did most of his damage in the paint against Atlanta, attacking the hole and getting to the line. He pushed the ball in transition for some easy shots and helped facilitate some ball movement in transition to set up Otto Porter for this layup.

The Wizards take care of a sub .500 team

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here; the Hawks are a lottery-bound basketball team. But, these were the kinds of games that Washington lost countless times last year. They’ve held serve recently against bottom-feeders like the Nets, Knicks, and Hawks. They’ll get another chance in a winnable game on Saturday as they take on the Cavaliers in Cleveland.

Wizards vs. 76ers final score: Philadelphia blows out shorthanded Washington squad 123-98

Eight players scored in double figures on Friday evening as the Philadelphia 76ers rolled through the Wizards 123-98 for their fifth loss of over 20 points this season. Joel Embiid led the Sixers with 16 points and 15 rebounds and Ben Simmons had a near triple-double with 13 points, 8 rebounds and 10 assists as this game was decided by halftime with Philly barely needing to break a sweat against a Wizards squad missing Dwight Howard and Otto Porter.

We’ve all seen this movie before. Washington didn’t bring any effort on the defensive end nor the defensive glass and before you knew it, the Wizards found themselves in a 25-14 hole. Philly didn’t shoot particularly well as they were just 11-of-29 from the field in the first quarter, but Washington gave them plenty of second-chance opportunities. The 76ers corralled nine offensive rebounds off of their 18 misses — a 50 percent offensive rebounding rate — leading to easy putbacks from close in.

And for the umpteenth time in this season, the Wizards found themselves in a double-digit hole at the end of one quarter as they trailed 31-19.

After a Jimmy Butler steal and a dunk 90 seconds into the second quarter, the Wizards found themselves in an even deeper 18-point deficit, 37-19. But you know the drill now. Washington locked in defensively for a couple of minutes and was able to trim the deficit to nine, but Philly countered with 20-7 run to close the half as the rout was on 68-46 at halftime.

Scott Brooks yanked the starters with three minutes remaining in the third quarter as the lead ballooned to 31 and it became clear it was time to shift focus to Saturday’s game against the Nets.

Takeaways

All of the Wizards poor habits were on full display tonight.

Terrible defense, poor shot selection, no effort on the glass –- the list goes on and on. I think we’re all getting serious #contentfatigue talking about this team’s flaws over and over again so let’s check in on the young guys why don’t we?

Thomas Bryant turns in another solid performance

Thomas Bryant got his sixth start of the season and after he was tasked with checking Anthony Davis on Wednesday, he had to try to lock down Joel Embiid tonight.

Like we’ve seen with Bryant over this stretch, his skill-set won’t wow you but it’s the intangibles that catch your eye. Early on after a nice defensive possession, Bryant sprinted the floor beating Embiid down court and John Wall rewarded him hitting the big man with a nice pass for an easy dunk.

In the second half, there was a defensive sequence where Embiid caught the ball on the low post and started backing down on Bryant. Bryant was able to stand his ground and challenged Embiid, swatting his shot away. Yes, it was just one play and Embiid clearly won the head-to-head battle; however, it was a pleasant sight seeing the second-year player attempt to challenge Embiid.

Troy Brown Jr. gets real NBA minutes

Up until tonight, Troy Brown Jr. had only seen the floor in garbage time of blowout games. But due to the Wizards being shorthanded with Porter out, combined with some early foul trouble, Brown ended up getting 4-plus minutes of meaningful playing time late in the first quarter and early into the second.

In his ‘welcome to the league, rookie’ moment, Brown was tasked with guarding Jimmy Butler. All things considered Brown did about as good of a job as you could have expected. He was sound defensively, played under control, and aside from one turnover in semi-transition, played fine during that 4:18 stretch.

Brown’s individual highlight in non-garbage time came on a backdoor pass to a cutting Tomas Satoransky for a reverse layup.

Brown re-entered the contest when this game reached garbage time late in the third quarter. He ended the night with 6 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists. If there are any positives to take away from tonight, it’s that Brown was able to get more experience and a few real NBA minutes.