For the second straight game the Washington Wizards blow another late lead, this time to the Portland Trail Blazers.
On Saturday, the Washington Wizards failed again to hold onto a double-digit fourth quarter lead, falling to the Portland Trail Blazers 108-105, at Capital One Arena. The Wizards led 94-77 early on in the final period and were still up 105-98, with two minutes left before collapsing.
For most of the night the Wizards were in complete control and it looked like they would record a much-needed victory, before a challenging stretch of five of their next six away from home. But once again fourth quarter problems on both ends led to their defeat. Here are the takeaways.
They Haven’t Learned Their Lesson:
After Wednesday’s game in Charlotte, in which the Wizards led by nine with three minutes to play and lost, players spoke about maintaining focus defensively down the stretch, and executing on that end of the floor.
Well the Wizards had an opportunity to exercise some of those demons and failed miserably. With the score 105-98, Markieff Morris committed a dumb, unnecessary flagrant foul on Blazers big man Jusuf Nurkic. Nurkic hit one of the free throws and on the ensuing inbounds, Otto Porter lost sight of C.J. McCollum who buried a long three. That sparked the Blazers 10-0 run to win the game. The Wizards have to shore up their fourth quarter defense. It’s a broken record at this point.
Bradley Beal In the Clutch:
Bradley Beal was once again counted on to bear most of the scoring load last night. He had a team-high 26 points and added 7 assists. He’s been great for the Wizards all year. But improvement in one area is needed–his performance in the clutch.
Per NBA Miner an advanced statistic site, Beal is just 1-for-8 in the last minute of close games. He was 0-for-2 in such situations on Saturday, including missing a wide open shot at the elbow that would have given the Wizards the lead. It’s something to watch going forward.
The Rotation without Wall:
Without Wall for the next couple of weeks, Head Coach Scott Brooks is going to have dive deeper into his bench and get creative with lineup combinations. Tim Frazier started of course and notched 28 minutes, with 11 points and 2 assists.
Tomas Satoransky played 14 minutes and was active when he got his opportunity. Brooks played both Jason Smith and Ian Mahinmi last night, which doesn’t usually happen. The odd man out was Mike Scott, who after playing well in Charlotte Wednesday registered a DNP-CD on Saturday.
On Tuesday, the Wizards travel to Minnesota to take on the Timberwolves.