The Washington Wizards lost to the Charlotte Hornets 123-110 on Friday night. Here are five observations from the game...
1. The All-Star break may have given the Wizards some much-needed time off, but it did not produce the reset in momentum that they were hoping for. They lost again on Friday night in their first game back and have now dropped eight of their last 11.
The losing overall has been devastating to their playoff hope,s and their latest defeat came against a team they are directly competing against. The Hornets are seventh in the East, and the Wizards are 11th.
Time is starting to run out, and losses like Friday's cause extra damage for the Wizards' chances of making the postseason.
2. At least Bradley Beal was good. The Wizards' lone All-Star came out of the break like he never went away.
He had 14 points in the first quarter and 20 by halftime. He finished with a season-high 46 points to go along with seven assists and six rebounds. He shot 64 percent on 25 attempts.
Beal also threw down what might have been the best dunk of his career. Not known as a high-flyer, Beal got way up there for this one:
If the Wizards' season continues on this losing trajectory, at least Beal gives D.C. fans a reason to tune in every night.
Beal, by the way, now has 10 career 40-point games. That is tied for fifth in Wizards/Bullets history with Earl Monroe. The only guys ahead of him are Gilbert Arenas (28), Walt Bellamy (23), Bernard King (13) and Elvin Hayes (11).
3. The first quarter was a dream. The second quarter was a nightmare.
After scoring 38 points in the first, the Wizards allowed the same amount to Charlotte in the second. They were outscored by 16 in the frame and never regained control.
It was in the second that the Hornets' bench imposed their will. Tony Parker carved the Wizards up off the dribble and Jeremy Lamb both got hot from long range and caught the Wizards by surprise with a series of intercepted passes.
For the game, the Wizards' bench was outscored 38-21. They couldn't hold up their end of the bargain on a night the starters mostly played well.
4. Tomas Satoransky was back after missing two games due to the birth of his first child. He hadn't played in 13 days before he returned to the starting lineup on Friday.
Despite the time off, Satoransky showed no signs of rust. He had 15 points (6-9 FG) and four assists, though he did have three turnovers.
With John Wall out, Satoransky is legitimately one of the Wizards' most important players. That would have been surprising to hear before this season, but nothing about this year has been predictable for the Wizards.
5. We got another glimpse at the combination of Thomas Bryant and Bobby Portis on the floor together. It was just the second time in five games since Portis arrived in D.C. that has happened.
It will be interesting to watch how much they play together the rest of this season, considering they have some redundancy in their games.
Offensively, it might be able to work. They are both fast and can stretch the floor. But defensively, they are both limited in the amount of positions they can defend and neither protects the rim particularly well.
Because of that, there are varying opinions within the organization about whether they can form a consistent frontcourt combination. That uncertainty has been reflected so far in head coach Scott Brooks' rotation. It is also something to consider as we project their futures with both set to hit restricted free agency this summer.
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