The Wizards were back in action at the Verizon Center against the Charlotte Bobcats last night. This game had huge implications for the NBA playoff seedings and the Wizards were looking to rebound after a tough loss to the Bulls over the past weekend.
Washington had a horrendous first half in a matchup that was essentially a playoff game. John Wall struggled early as he was turning the ball over often and failed to penetrate the defense. The Bobcats were getting easy baskets in the paint led by the good guard play of Kemba Walker.
The Bobcats entered the third quarter with a 13-point lead and that’s when the Wizards began to find their groove. John Wall led the way in a 14-2 scoring run to open the third quarter and the Wizards were right back in it.
The fourth quarter was back and forth and the Wizards finally gained the lead with just over five minutes to play. Kemba Walker hit a big three to tie the game at 83 and Wall hit a jumper on the other end with just over 50 seconds to play. Washington had possession with a tied game and just 17 seconds left and coach Wittman took a timeout.
Marcin Gortat finished a nice feed from John Wall to take a two-point lead with just 9 seconds left. Al Jefferson was found down low on the other end, wide open for a layup to tie it with just second’s left. Gortat mentioned after the game he did not want to foul and give Jefferson a chance at a 3-point play to win the game.
The Wizards were abysmal in overtime as they only scored one point and fell to the Bobcats 94-88. With the opportunity squandered, the race is now on with just four games left in the regular season. The two teams are now tied with a 40-38 record and the Cats hold the tiebreaker. The Bobcats have two games at home remaining against the 76ers and Bulls and road games against the Celtics and Hawks.
With how the standings shake up after last nights round of games the Wizards are set to face the two-time defending NBA champion Miami Heat. It is imperative that Washington finishes strong down the stretch so they can still get a shot at the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. Here are more of my thoughts from last night’s game:
– Trevor Booker was a big-time spark player for the Wizards last night and Wall credited Booker postgame for being the sole reason they still had a chance to be in the game after the first half. He was active on both ends of the floor and his prescence was felt defensively as he finished with five blocks.
– Wall struggled early on, but as he turned it on early in the second half the rest of the team followed. He finally was able to get through the interior of the defense and make plays for his big men. Wall registered his third triple double of his career ( 14 pts 12 reb 11 ast) his last triple double came against the Celtics this past January.
– Washington is the second best three point shooting team in the NBA behind the Spurs and have four players that have made over 100 three pointers this season. It was difficult to watch the solid three point shooting squad shoot just 1-15 from long range. Wall did mention after the game your not going to win any games shooting from downtown like that, especially when your first three comes in the fourth quarter.
– Marcin Gortat was a force on the inside once again and keeps showing he was quite the acquisition this past offseason. Gortat finished with 27 points and 14 rebounds which makes up for his 34th double-double this season. Antawn Jamison was the last Wizards player to have over 34 double-doubles in season when he had 38 during the 2008-09 season.
– Nene was back in action for the first time since his injury against Cleveland this past February. He was certainly rusty at first, but he eventually started to find his groove. After the game, Nene mentioned the staff said he looked good throughout the game so his minutes per game will be something to monitor the rest of the way.
– Bradley Beal and Trevor Ariza were the players on the floor who struggled the most tonight. Beal finished with just 8 points and was 4-15 from the field. Trevor Ariza was 0-6 on the night and failed to score one point. If Beal and Ariza go for a combined 4-21 from the field in a game, the Wizards chances of winning will never be good.