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Blazers pound Wizards 108-98: Five takeaways


Blazers pound Wizards 108-98: Five takeaways

The Portland Trail Blazers had just been embarrassed by the NBA's worst team two nights ago, so they came into Monday's game at Verizon Center ready to make amends. The Wizards, on the heels of an emotional loss to the Boston Celtics, didn't have the same energy as they lost for the fifth time in six home games.

Marcin Gortat (16 points, 13 rebounds) led the Wizards but after they took their first lead of the game, 60-59, to open the third quarter on Garrett Temple's three-pointer then it was all downhill.

Portland (19-25) went on a 23-1 run, led by C.J. McCollum (25 points), Myers Leonard (18), Damian Lillard (16) Alan Crabbe (14) and Mason Plumlee (10 points, 11 rebounds).

Temple (18 points), Bradley Beal (16), Gary Neal (11), Jared Dudley (10) and Ramon Sessions (10) gave the Wizards a jolt offensively but they couldn't get stops on the other end. John Wall (nine points, 10 assists) wasn't himself.

The Wizards already have more home losses (13) than they had all of last season.

  • On the first play of the game, the Wizards had a botched coverage on Lillard's first basket which was a drive for a layup. They didn't change much with their scheme but this showed a lack of preparedness even though the game plan had been established. It's all about recognizing personnel. McCollum rarely goes all the way to the basket. He will pull up for jump shots every time. Lillard tends to pass or stop his dribble and pull up going left. He's more prone to going all the way to the basket going right. The Wizards had poor recognition with personnel.

  • Nene and Gortat, who started together the past two seasons, shared the court for the first time to combat one of the better rebounding teams in the league. Nene was limited to 12 minutes in the last game because the Wizards were playing the second game of a back-to-back so coach Randy Wittman, who had to be measured with how he used him there, had him on the court 17 minutes. They duo was together from 5:38 of the first quarter when Nene entered for Dudley trailing 19-6, and that lasted until Gortat checked out at 1:42 as they remained down 22-12. In the third, the deficit was pronounced with them together. Nene checked in at 7:54 to play with Gortat and the Wizards down 68-61. When Gortat left at 3:59, they were down 84-65. Gortat was  6 of 8 in the first half in 18 minutes. In eight minutes of the third, Gortat didn't a shot attempt as the spacing on the court wasn't as good to receive the pocket passes from Dudley (four) for layups. The combination doesn't work particularly when bigs like Leonard are making 4 of 7 three-point shots. 

  • After playing a season-high 44 minutes on Saturday and missing the game-tying layup because his legs were drained, Wall was flat. He shot just 4-for-17 and missed four consecutive open mid-range jump shots as Portland went on that run after halftime to put the game away. With the game long over, Wall played until less than three minutes were left with the outcome decided. He played 36 minutes and given how this game went should've been less than 30.

  • Portland made 17 of 31 three-pointers, most of them clean looks, for 55%, and had a 48-35 edge in rebounding. It's hard to win if you're the Wizards with those numbers, even having just nine turnovers

  • In a game like this, the Wizards needed Beal who still is on a minutes restriction. In part because of him, they were able to trim a 17-point deficit to 59-57 at halftime. The spacing on the floor wasn't good with no one hitting shots early. Beal made 2 of 3 three-point shots in the first half and it changed the tone for the better but it couldn't last. Still, there are communication issues that go back the previous few seasons with him not moving off the ball. It led to a turnover by Nene who was trying to direct him and he ended up making a bad pass instead. If Beal had moved where directed, he would've had an open shot. Nene was correct.

RELATED: NBA gives John Wall another honor for standout performance

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

Here are the five best plays or moments from the Wizards' 122-105 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night...

1. This was a tough one for the Wizards. For the third time this season, they got beaten by the Hornets and for the second straight time it was in a blowout.

They still had their moments, though, including this alley-oop from Tomas Satoransky (11 points) to Markieff Morris (13 points, eight assists, six rebounds). It was the second alley-oop connection for those two in as many games:


2. This was a play that encapsulated the Wizards' night. Jodie Meeks drew a flagrant foul on Michael Carter-Williams, but took a hard shot to the head:

3. Kelly Oubre, Jr. had a solid game with 11 points, including this big dunk:


4. Speaking of Oubre, he helped the Wizards close the first half with a late surge. The real highlight was Bradley Beal stealing the ball and hitting a corner three at the buzzer:

5. Beal ended up with 33 points, six assists and six rebounds. Here's an and-1 he got to go down in the second half:

All in all, it was an ugly performance for the Wizards. To cheer you up, we'll leave you with this young fan who had a great time at Capital One Arena despite the result:



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Wizards suffer lopsided loss against Hornets, who have had their number this season

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Wizards suffer lopsided loss against Hornets, who have had their number this season

The Washington Wizards lost to the Charlotte Hornets 122-105 on Friday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Bad matchup: Despite their poor record, there is something about this Charlotte Hornets team that gives the Wizards trouble. The Wizards lost to the Hornets for the third time in three tries this season on Friday night and, aside from a push in the third quarter, were never really in it.

All in all, it was a dud of a game for the Wizards who were probably due for one. They had won three straight games and eight of 10 since John Wall got injured. They were also coming off a huge road win the night before in Cleveland, a game that started an hour later than usual.

It was a tough turnaround and the Wizards sure looked like it. It was evident in their defense and unforced errors. They did, however, have a decent shooting night. They shot 49.4 percent from the field 16-for-17 from the free throw line.

The Wizards' second unit didn't provide a lift outside of Kelly Oubre, Jr. (11 points). Mike Scott, one of their best bench options, was held scoreless.


Ugly first half: The Wizards only trailed by 12 points at halftime, but that score was skewed by a five-point push in the final seconds. The Hornets dominated for much of the first two quarters and did so by hitting threes and forcing turnovers. Those mistakes dug the Wizards a hole they never recovered from.

The Wizards had 10 turnovers in the first half, the same amount they had in their entire game the night before. Limiting mistakes was a big reason they beat the Cavaliers, yet the script was flipped by Charlotte.

The Hornets capitalized with 23 points off those 10 first-half turnovers. The Wizards had 14 giveaways for the games that led to 28 total points. 

Charlotte was 7-for-11 from three at one point in the first half and finished 17-for-39 (43.6%) for the game. That is very uncharacteristic for the Wizards, who entered the night second in the NBA in opponents three-point percentage.

Again, though, the first half ended well as Oubre and Bradley Beal gave the Wizards a jolt in the final seconds:


Bad defense: The Wizards have played some great defense in recent weeks, but they just didn't have it on Friday night. Most surprising were the guys that hurt them most.

Dwight Howard was limited to 11 points and six rebounds and Kemba Walker didn't score his first points until the final minute of the first half. But others like Frank Kaminsky (23 points), Marvin Williams (15 points) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (14 points) got pretty much anything they wanted.

For Walker, it was a tale of two halves. He was held in check by Tomas Satoransky in the first half, but broke out in the third quarter and finished with 24 points and seven rebounds. Maybe it was tired legs on the Wizards' part, but Walker just kept dribbling until he got space and once he did, he knocked down shots.

Much like Kyle Lowry did a few weeks ago, Walker made adjustments to find success against Satoransky. We haven't seen that happen much since Wall went out, but those two guys have given him some trouble. Both guys are considerably smaller than Satoransky and very quick. Maybe there's something to that.

Add it all up and this was one of the worst defensive games of the season for the Wizards. They allowed their most points in a game since Jan. 17 against, you guessed it, the Hornets. Only three times this year have they given up more than what they allowed on Friday.

No Sessions: The Wizards did not debut their newest player on Friday night, which was probably to be expected given Ramon Sessions has not had any practice time yet. That is part of why he didn't play, but it's also another indication that he is unlikely to play much with the Wizards. Sessions is on a 10-day contract and is not expected to supplant either Satoransky or Tim Frazier at point guard. Frazier would seem to be the guy in danger of losing minutes, but it was business as usual for him against the Hornets.

Up next: The Wizards are off Saturday before returning to action at home against the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.