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Terrible decision-making on final play almost costs Wizards


Terrible decision-making on final play almost costs Wizards

NEW YORK -- Drew Gooden walked off the floor in absolute disgust, shaking his head as nary a player for the Wizards could celebrate how they won Tuesday's game at Madison Square Garden. 

Gooden, who didn't play in the second half, knew what he saw was unacceptable if the Wizards have any hope of turning their season around. Langston Galloway hit a big three-point shot to pull the Knicks 107-106 of the Wizards with 8.5 seconds left, which should've scared them enough to be at attentive on the final play. But Galloway was able to get a clean look from 25 feet as the buzzer sounded.

Fortunately for the Wizards (23-27), he missed or it would've forced overtime instead of a 111-108 victory.

Aside from blowing a 16-point lead, like they squandered a 19-point lead over the weekend in a loss at the Charlotte Hornets, the Wizards simply lack the attention to detail to close games.

"That's all on us. We got to at some point stand up and understand how to close games," said coach Randy Wittman, who instructed his team to foul to prevent the three-point heave from Galloway. "We did just about everything you could do wrong coming down the stretch instead of just playing solid. Going for steals, leaving open threes when that's all they need. ... It was a little ugly down the stretch."

After trailing 92-91 on a three-pointer by Galloway with 7:18 left in the game, the Wizards went on a 15-4 run highlighted by threes from Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and three consecutive jump shots from John Wall, including a three. 

Then they came unraveled. Beal missed 3 of 4 foul shots in the final 39 seconds. After Wall hit his fourth consecutive free throws in the last seven seconds to keep the Wizards ahead by three -- neither team had any timeouts left -- the Knicks inbounded with 4.3 seconds left. Porter was supposed to foul Jose Calderon immediately on the inbound to prevent the three by Galloway at the end that failed. Wall tried to cover for him but failed to foul Calderon in time, who threw the ball ahead to Galloway. Jared Dudley made an attempt to run across the court when he saw the breakdown to challenge the shot but it was essentially a wide-open look from one of New York's better shooters.

It could've ruined an otherwise masterful performance by Wall (28 points, 17 assists, one turnover) and it remains head-scratching why such a disciplined team defensively has become so skittish and unreliable in clutch situations. 

"Bad communication," Beal said in explaining the lapses. "I fell asleep a few times. We just weren't locked in at the end of the game. I wouldn't say our aggressiveness necessarily stopped. They made a lot of tough shots."

Wall placed the blame on himself and Porter. But Wall also had to recognize out of all shooters to leave wide open in that situation, it wasn't Galloway. 

"It was Otto for not knowing the foul and also me for leaving the man wide open," Wall said. "We went for steals sometimes when we shouldn't have. At times we were trying to go give up threes  but twos, but we were giving up twos in like two seconds so it wasn't enough time running off the clock."

There even was an inbound play in the final seconds as Dudley tried to make an inbounds play. His four teammates hovered near the baseline, giving him no angles or spacing to make any sort of pass. No one broke down court. He had to use the Wizards' last timeout, but Wittman still was able to instruct Porter from the sideline to foul on the final play. 

Dudley scored all of his 14 points in the first half. He could only shake his head at how this game could've been a disaster. 

"We didn't deserve to win this game," he said. "This game symbolizes us. Inconsistent. Up and down. Great first half. Second half, terrible third we've (had) the whole year, fourth quarter pick it back up in the last four or five minutes. I would've hated to be in Vegas watching those bets on the spread tonight."


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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.