Getting over the .500 hump just wasn’t meant to be tonight.
Despite keeping it competitive against the Clippers for much of the game, the Wizards just didn’t have enough to defeat the Clippers on the road. Here are the Bullet Points:
- Blake Griffin has stepped up in Chris Paul’s absence and he definitely led the way to their win tonight. He scored 29 points to go along side 9 rebounds and 4 assists, but I thought Nene and Trevor Booker did a pretty good job defensively. He made a few tough perimeter shots, along with multiple uncontested layups. He’s basically impossible to cover, given how much more athletic he is than Washington’s bigs.
- Nene played a pretty good game, despite struggling from the field. Washington ran their offense through Nene right out of the gate, and he finished the game with 14 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists. However, Marcin Gortat was absolutely dreadful tonight. He played just 24 minutes, while DeAndre Jordan got whatever he wanted. Jordan scored 14 points, but his 17 rebounds certainly altered the course of the game. Gortat has struggled against explosive bigs throughout his entire career and that didn’t change tonight. The Clippers utilized the mismatch well and their was nothing the Wizards could do about it.
- Bradley Beal played another terrific game after helping the Wizards close a win against the Warriors last night. There were multiple stretches in the game where Beal was the only one scoring for the Wizards. He didn’t settle for the long two point shot either, as he attacked J.J. Redick every chance he got. Beal played as well offensively as you could possibly ask him to play, the only problem is, Redick couldn’t miss on the opposite side of the floor. Beal scored 20 points on 8-15 shooting, but Redick countered with 20 of his own on just 11 shot attempts. Beal did a pretty good job at contesting Redick, but it didn’t seem to affect his shot. To make matters worse, Jamal Crawford his two ridiculous half-court shots after Washington had played terrific defense. Needless to say, the Clippers made some tough shots tonight.
- John Wall finished the game with 19 points and 11 assists. He played a really good game offensively, picking his spots well from the field, but his defense left much to be desired. Darren Collison scored 16 points on just 9 shot attempts and I thought he got way too many easy looks. Despite the poor defense, Wall still did enough to carry his team throughout the course of the game. The offense was a disaster as soon as he got subbed out for Garrett Temple.
- The Clippers shot 42 free throws. The Wizards shot just 17. Just sayin’.
- Randy Wittman decided to “Hack-A-Jordan” with 2 minutes remaining in the game. The plan backfired, as Jordan knocked down every free throw in the final period. Instead of intentionally fouling, the Wizards should’ve relied on their defense and they probably would’ve gave themselves a better shot at making a comeback.
Despite the loss, I thought the Wizards really brought it tonight. The Clippers have just 3 home losses on the season, and even though they’re undermanned, they’re deep enough where an injury doesn’t seem to affect them. Take away a few questionable calls, a lucky shot or two (specifically the Jamal Crawford shots), and the Wizards probably find themselves on the winning side of things.
Washington kept it competitive, where they really could’ve just accepted defeat and moved on to the next day. There’s no such thing as a moral victory, but the Wizards were resilient.
They’ll be back home against the surging Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday.