Wizards

Quick Links

Morning tip: When will Wizards learn this lesson?

usatsi_9192889.jpg

Morning tip: When will Wizards learn this lesson?

PHILADELPHIA -- For whatever reason, or maybe reasons, the Wizards can't seem to get out of their own way when it comes to playing the Philadelphia 76ers and Thursday's near disaster was no different than the previous three. 

The worst team in the NBA cut a 24-point deficit down to nothing twice in the fourth quarter, after the Wizards had 12 turnovers in the third alone set the stage for the rally. If John Wall doesn't make all eight of his foul shots in the final 15 seconds maybe they don't escape with a 99-94 victory to win the season series 4-0.

"These  are lessons that need to be learned," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "Until we understand in this league that no game is safe at halftime, we're going to have inconsistencies that we've had this year. I could just sense, trying to tell them at halftime ... this team wasn't going to go away. They play, they play and they keep playing. We came out in the third quarter and thought we're going to try new tricks."

Wall put forth his fourth triple-double of the season but was the main culprit with nine giveaways. Four came in the third when Philadelphia turned the tied. No player other than Otto Porter scored more than two points in the Wizards' 15-point third quarter. 

This happened Feb. 29 at Verizon Center, Washington led 60-48 at halftime, fell down 74-66 in the third and then erupted for a 16-0 run led by Wall and Marcin Gortat to put them away 116-108. A few days before that, the Wizards trailed for most of three quarters at 72-66 until a 10-0 run steadied them to 103-94 win in Philadelphia.

"They've been playing hard every game that we've played them," said Garrett Temple, who had to start at shooting guard while Bradley Beal sat out with soreness in his pelvis. "We have to find ways to come out in the second half and put teams away. That's something that's been our Achilles heel. In order for us to grow into the team we want to be, we got to learn how to put people away. ... We turned the ball over too much."

Wall not only turned the ball over a lot, but he was just 4 of 17 shooting. He made all eight of his free throws to close them out. He wasn't as sharp as the point guard who was sensational for the Wizards in a 43-point rout of the Detroit Pistons and a 21-point win vs. the Chicago Bulls this week.

The Sixers (9-59) changed their coverages in the second half because there were blatant mismatches created by their switching that allowed the Wizards to shoot 53% int he first half. That accuracy dropped by almost 20% in the final two quarters as Gortat (8 of 10) didn't have a shot attempt after halftime.

"Most teams, when you start the third quarter and get a big lead, will quit and fold," Wall said of the Wizards, who led 58-39 at halftime and increased that to 67-43 on a three-pointer from Porter with 8:32 left. "They're a team that keeps fighting. We stopped moving the ball and started to force it into double-teams and overdribbling."

The Wizards (33-35) will be off Friday and get ready for Saturday's winnable home game vs. the New York Knicks, who handed them their first loss at Verizon Center in the first week of the season. Playing down to the opposition again could be even more dangerous because unlike the Sixers the Knicks have a player in Carmelo Anthony who can erupt for 40-50 points at any time. He doesn't need help with extra possessions because of Wall's turnovers.

"He's got 17 in two games now. Good thing is John wasn't happy about it. He stepped up and made (eight) big free throws. Gortat had a huge tap back," Wittman said of his center giving them an extra possession after a missed foul shot that made it a two-possession game with 14.6 seconds left. "Marcus Thornton hit a couple big shots. Those were plays we had to make coming down the stretch but we put ourselves in position to have to do that.

"If you want as an individual and as a team to continue to reach the next levels, you've got to be more professional in finishing out games."

Quick Links

Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

usatsi_9095555.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

Instead of visiting the White House when they come to Washington this week to play the Wizards, the defending-champion Golden State Warriors plan to hold an event with D.C.-area kids.

Their invitation was rescinded by president Donald Trump following a back-and-forth between the two sides last year. After the Warriors won the title, they openly questioned whether they should follow the tradition given many of the players and coaches disagree with his policies. Trump took the opportunity away before they came to a final decision.

PODCAST: WIZARDS MAKE A FREE AGENT SIGNING

The Warriors' event will be closed off to the media and held at an undisclosed location. It is set for Tuesday, the day before they play the Wizards at Capital One Arena. The Warriors had the option of holding a ceremony with other politicians in the Democratic party, but decided that would send the wrong message. 

"It's their championship. They got disinvited to the White House, so it's up to them what they wanted to do. So they made their plans," coach Steve Kerr said. "I want the players to have a good day and to do something positive and to enjoy what they're doing."

The Warriors are the first NBA team to make this choice since Trump was elected president. Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers held their celebration with president Barack Obama in November. They did so just days after Trump was elected and LeBron James questioned at the time whether he would visit the White House with Trump in office.

RELATED: DURANT MAKES HUGE DONATION TO PG COUNTY SCHOOLS

Sports teams visiting the White House goes back to the mid-1800s. The first World Series title team to visit was the 1924 Washington Senators. By the 1960s, NBA teams were going and by the 1980s NFL and NHL teams made it a tradition.

Entire teams snubbing the White House is unusual, but many players have turned down the opportunity. In the NBA, some famous cases include Larry Bird in 1984 and Michael Jordan in 1991, according to Rolling Stone.

Perhaps the Warriors start a trend, or maybe it will be a one-off thing. Regardless, the alternative they chose is a respectable one. 

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS

 

Quick Links

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

usatsi_10649028.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

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:

PODCAST: WHAT THE SESSIONS SIGNING MEANS FOR SATORANSKY

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:

RELATED: 5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT RAMON SESSIONS

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:

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS