What an awful way to end a potential comeback victory.
After trailing by as much as 20 points in the first half, the Washington Wizards chipped away at the lead and eventually went on to gain their own lead late in the fourth quarter. Their defense picked up, Nene knocked down shots when Washington’s offense became stagnant and it looked like they were on their way to securing the sixth spot in the NBA Playoffs.
Well, it all fell apart.
Kemba Walker hit a ridiculous three point shot in the fourth quarter to tie the game and Washington responded with a beautiful pick-and-roll play between John Wall and Marcin Gortat. Gortat got the basket, but he failed to defend Al Jefferson off a Charlotte pick-and-roll on the other end. The Wizards had the ball with three seconds remaining and couldn’t even get a shot off. Free basketball.
Washington couldn’t get it going offensively in overtime, and to put it bluntly, they looked clueless. The Bobcats got whatever they wanted, Al Jefferson knocked down clutch mid-range shots, the Wizards failed to execute and Charlotte went on to win, 94-88.
The Wizards scored 1 point in overtime–a John Wall free throw.
It was an awful loss, to say the least, but there were some bright spots.
Marcin Gortat got the best of Al Jefferson, for the most part, scoring 27 points on 13-18 shooting to go along side 14 rebounds. He finished most of his shots around the basket and helped anchor the Wizards defensively in the second half. Wall struggled shooting the ball, hitting just 6 of his 18 attempts, but he did finish the game with a triple double. He scored 14 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and dished out 11 assists. The only issue with Wall tonight was his shot selection. I thought he passed up waaaay too many open looks underneath the basket, often times looking for his teammates out on the perimeter, who weren’t open. He’s looked hesitant shooting the ball around the rim, which is concerning, since he doesn’t seem to have a problem stepping into long two point shots. I’m not sure why he’s passing up open looks at the rim, but that needs to change, especially when his shooters are struggling. Trevor Ariza didn’t score tonight and Bradley Beal made just 4 of his 15 attempts. That’s bad. Shoot the ball, John.
Trevor Booker was also solid tonight, scoring 16 points on just 5 shot attempts. He sparked Washington’s comeback with 5 blocks and really helped swing the momentum.
Washington has now fallen to seventh and if the postseason began today, they would be playing against the Indiana Pacers in the first round. Although Indiana has been struggling lately, I’m sure they’d like to avoid playing a team that seems destined to meet the Miami Heat in the Conference Finals.
It’s a disappointing loss, considering how bad the team was during their most important match up of the season, but they have to shake this off. Washington has 4 games remaining and they could still potentially finish 6th in the conference.