The Wizards went 2-2 this week with wins over the Hawks and Lakers and losses to the same Hawks team and the Wolves. The Wolves beat the Wizards in double overtime. If the Wizards miss the playoffs by one game, they can point back to that game for where it all went wrong.
Trending Up: John Wall
What’s there to say anymore? Wall had double-doubles in all four games this week. He averaged 21 points and 13.25 assists this week. Wall was the sole reason the Wizards beat the Hawks the first time and gasp, beat the Lakers. The Wizards were down 16-4 at the drop of a hat versus the Lakers. Wall went on a personal 12-0 run to get this team back in the game. He did commit four turnovers during that 12-0 run but we’re at a point where that doesn’t matter as the Wizards would be nothing without Wall. Wall was very efficient from three-point range as he was 9-19 on the week. We’ll see over these next few weeks how far Wall can carry this team.
Trending Down: Otto Porter
This isn’t so much that Otto had a poor week but more due to the fact that he’s wildly inconsistent. Porter can disappear during an entire half and then come back and score 10+ points in a quarter, usually the third. I don’t know if it’s lack of aggression, plays being drawn up, or confidence. I have a hunch it’s confidence as it’s not like the coaching staff is dying to run plays for him. The fact of the matter is; when he gets going he can catch fire and hit five straight shots. But when he’s pulling a disappearing act, you almost forget he’s even on this team.
After an embarrassing 0-3 record last week, the Wizards turned things around and went 4-0 including wins over the Pistons and Bulls who currently sit in front of them in the standings. The Wizards now hold the tiebreaker over both the Pistons and Bulls should the playoff seeding come down to that. Unfortunately, the Wizards didn’t get much help from the teams above them in the standings as they are currently 1.5 games out of the 8-seed.
Trending Up: The Entire Team
Last week the entire team was trending down, now they are trending up. That’s what happens when you rip off four wins in six days. The Wizards held all four opponents under 100 points this week and kept Detroit and New York under 90. The Wizards kicked the defense up a notch and you could tell right from the get-go. Markieff Morris was very impressive in how he played Carmelo Anthony. Melo was having his way against Otto Porter and Garrett Temple. The Wizards switched Morris onto Melo to start the second half of the game and Melo was ineffective.
John Wall added two more triple-doubles this week bringing his season total to four. Wall notched back-to-back turnovers in as many nights against the Bulls and the 76ers. Wall did get a bit turnover happy as he combined for 17 turnovers in the two games where he logged triple-doubles. Wall only logged one turnover against the Pistons and one against the Knicks.
Garrett Temple started showing some life again from range as he went 9-17 from three for the week. Garrett Temple has been a non-factor for much of February and the beginning of March so it was nice to see him get back on track. Temple morphed into Ray Allen knocking down his first five three-pointers against the Bulls (all in the first half) and finished the game 5-6 from three. The Wizards will need Temple’s help off the bench during this late-season push.
Trending Down: The entire team.
The Wizards wen’t 0-3 this week losing to the Blazers, Jazz, and Nuggets. The Blazers loss was sort of expected but the games against the Jazz and Nuggets were a complete embarrassment.
In both the games against the Blazers and the Nuggets, the Wizards took leads well into the third quarter only to blow them in the fourth quarter. The Wizards blew the game against the Blazers due to poor free throw shooting (11-23). The Wizards lost that game by just seven points so if that number is around 15 or 16, maybe this team snaps out of mini-skid to turn things around.
Prior to the game against the Jazz, John Wall called it the most important game of the season. The Wizards didn’t play like it as they got smoked 114-93. Wall played well scoring 24 points to along with 9 assists but that was pretty much it. The Wizards reverted back to their old ways and stopped playing defense and when you do that; you’re not going to beat a bunch of teams.
The Wizards signed Marcus Thornton off of Waivers and he made his Wizards debut going 1-9 from the field against the Jazz.
Then there was the Denver debacle. The Nuggets are clearly out of the playoff picture out west yet used their second unit to come back and blow out the Wizards. The Wizards led 83-75 after three quarters but got blown out 41-17 in the fourth quarter to lose 116-100. The Nuggets tried to give this game to the Wizards too. The Nuggets committed 22 turnovers resulting in 32 Wizards points but that didn’t matter as the Wizards committed nine turnovers of their own in the fourth quarter to hand this game over to the Nuggets.
The Wizards are in the midst of a five game losing streak and the playoffs seem like a distant memory at this point.
The Wizards went 2-2 this week winning games over the 76ers and Timberwolves but losing to the Cavaliers and Pacers in back-to-back nights. The win against the 76ers wasn’t pretty as the Wizards needed a fourth quarter comeback to beat the worst team in the league. The game against the Cavs was a massacre as the Wizards lost by 25 only to follow that up with a loss against the Pacers which would have catapulted them into the 8-spot in the Eastern Conference. Instead, they still are sitting in the 10-spot. There were a lot of candidates this week but here’s who’s trending up and who’s trending down.
Trending Up – Marfieff Morris: It only took two weeks for Marfieff Morris to solidify his spot in the starting lineup. Morris replaced Dudley in the starting lineup for all four games this week and that doesn’t look to be changing anytime soon. Morris showed flashes of his three-point game, mid-range game, and post up game this week. He averaged12.5 points and eight rebounds this week. Morris had his best game as a Wizard against the 76ers where he scored 16 points to go along with 13 rebounds. So far, the front office and Wizards fans must be pleased with what they’ve seen from Morris.
Trending Down – Otto Porter: Otto Porter has been disappearing in the middle of games far too often and it was magnetized this week. Porter averaged just 6.25 points per game this week, many of which coming in the first half of games. Porter often gets off to a hot start and then fades as the game goes along. A prime example was against Indiana where he scored the Wizards’ first six points but didn’t have a basket the rest of the game. It may just be a matter of time before Alan Anderson replaces Porter in the starting lineup.
The Wizards went 3-1 this week beating the Pelicans, 76ers, and Cavaliers but dropped a game in Chicago against a short-handed Bulls team. The Bulls were without Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler but still managed to control the game. On the flip side, the Wizards dismantled the Cavaliers 113-99 on Sunday afternoon but the Cavs were playing without some guy named LeBron James. The Wizards did not look particularly great this week but a 3-1 record isn’t to shabby.
Trending Up: Ramon Sessions
Sessions has proven to be one of the most reliable back up point guards in the NBA. He gets to the line the most out of any player coming off the bench and the pace does not slow down when he gives John Wall a breather. Sessions averaged 12 points per game this week on 51 percent (18-35) shooting. Sessions won’t get you 10 assists per game like Wall but can get to the line. The only thing is, he’s got to improve his free throw shooting. It’s great that he’s getting to the line. It just doesn’t matter if you don’t knock them down.
Trending Down: Garrett Temple
The honeymoon with Temple is over but the Wizards keep force-feeding the situation. Temple has become a non-factor on offense. Early in the season, he was knocking down three pointers and was getting easy buckets in transition. Now? He’s doing neither. Temple averaged just 6.8 points per game this week. He scored just two points against the Cavs and put up a donut against the 76ers. The only reason Temple continues to start is because of Beal’s minutes restriction. To Temple’s defense, he still plays hard defensively. It’s just on the offensive end where his game has taken a huge dip.
In their return from the All-Star break, the Wizards had to play three games in as many nights going 2-1 over that stretch. The Wizards held the Jazz and Pistons (both wins) under 100 points which was the reason they won those games. The team had no gas left in the tank by the time their flight landed in Miami. The Wizards were down double figures in the blink of an eye and ended up losing 114-94 to the Heat. Who’s trending up and who’s in a post All-Star break funk?
Trending Up: Bradley Beal – Bradley Beal averaged 17.3 points this week while coming off the bench in all three games. Beal is on a minutes restriction and did not play more than 29 minutes in any of the three games. To be frank, he shouldn’t have played deep into the fourth quarter against Miami as the game was already out of hand. Beal continues to play some of the best basketball of his career and it all started when he broke his nose a few weeks back. Beal shot 50 percent (22-44) this week and it should be noted that he’s no longer settling for long jump shots. Many of his baskets came in the mid range as well as attacking the hole in transition. The only knock here is Beal needs to clean up his free throw shooting. A shooter of his caliber should not be a combined 2-7 from the charity stripe in back to back games.
Trending Down: Garrett Temple – The honeymoon is officially over as Garrett Temple has come back to earth. Gone are the days where Temple would put up between 15-20 points. To Temple’s credit, he’s still playing very well on the defensive end. It’s just his shooting has been atrocious. Temple went 2-16 during this three game and was 1-4 from the charity stripe. Temple continues to attack the hole in transition it’s just he’s no longer finishing those layups. He had more than twice as many steals (5) than he did made baskets (2). Beal’s scoring helps but the Wizards are going to need more from Temple on offense especially if he’s getting 30+ minutes per game.
The Wizards went 1-1 in the week leading up to the All Star break with the lone win coming against the Knicks and the loss coming against the Milwaukee Bucks in an uninspired effort. In fact, lets not even talk about the Bucks’ game since the seven-point loss doesn’t tell the story.
Trending Up: John Wall
I know, I know, when am I going to put someone else in this category; but the fact of the matter is that Wall is the only player consistently playing well. Wall had to drop 28 points and 17 assists for the Wizards to get a win against the Knicks. As I’ve stated before, this team would be battling for the worst in the Eastern Conference if it weren’t for Wall. He’s leading this team in points, assists, and minutes played. Oh and he’s played in all 51 games this year; something only him and Ramon Sessions have done. Aside from his botched defense against Langston Galloway on the last play of the game, John Wall had a stellar performance.
Trending Down: Garrett Temple
This isn’t so much trending down but more of a recession to the mean. After Temple’s stellar start to the season, he’s come back to earth. This was evidenced by his five-point output against the Knicks (in 32 minutes) and just three points against the Bucks. It was Temple’s duty to lock up Carmelo Anthony and he couldn’t really slow Melo down as he dropped 33 points. He played just 16 minutes against the Bucks now that Beal is back and healthy. The Wizards have toyed some with playing Temple at the Small Forward position. Maybe that will pay dividends for him going forward?