When rookie guard Bradley Beal rolled his ankle against the Philadelphia 76ers in front of fans at the Verizon Center on March 3, team insiders knew it would be a rough task to generate offense with the sharp shooter sidelined.
The Wizards went on to defeat Philadelphia, but failed to score more than 82 points in either of their next two games with Beal sidelined. Though the team couldn't find its offense, John Wall was able to find his jumpshot by the end of the week. The AFRO recaps the 18th week that was for the Washington Wizards.
March 3—Washington 90, Philadelphia 87: In Beal's last performance before suffering his injury, the rookie nailed two three-pointers and was one of five Wizards to score in double figures. Wall scored the final six points for Washington after Beal was carried off the court by a pair of teammates with two minutes left in the final quarter. Fortunately, the injury looked significantly worse than what it is, and an X-ray after the game revealed no serious damage. Wall finished with 16 points, six assists and five rebounds.
March 5—Minnesota 87, Washington 82: After a 29-point first quarter, Washington could only generate 53 points the rest of the way, lacking the offense or the energy to defeat Minnesota on the road. Minnesota ended a six-game losing streak with the win over Washington, capitalizing on 24 turnovers from the road team. Wall led the team with 19 points and seven assists, displaying some accurate shooting in the early moments before fading late. The Wizards led by eight points in the early fourth quarter, but a 21-9 run by Minnesota put the game away.
March 7—Brooklyn 95, Washington 78: Before fans at the newly-built Barclays Center could even get settled into their seats, Nets point guard Deron Williams was already hot and sizzling. Brooklyn jumped out to a 16-0 lead, fueled by four three-pointers from Williams. Wall led the Wizards with 16 points, but only connected on six of 19 shots from the field.
March 8—Washington 104, Charlotte 87: A home matchup against the league’s worst team was the right recipe to help the Wizards rebound from the blowout against Brooklyn the night before. Washington received a season-high 26 points from Trevor Ariza, who made five three-pointers to lead the rout. Wall (13 points, six assists) was also effective, nailing a three-pointer and flashing his jumper, which swished through the bottom of the net several times to the surprise of fans. Martell Webster also got in the act, contributing 20 points and hitting four three-pointers of his own as Washington shot 10-of-18 from beyond the arc. Nene was efficient as well, scoring 19 points and hauling in eight rebounds to go along with four assists and two blocks.
Washington (20-41) continues to hover around the bottom of the league, but have been a .500 team since Wall’s return from an injury of his own. A lottery pick is definitely in the cards for the Wizards—but they need it. Beal’s absence continues to highlight the fact that Washington lacks scoring. Any help acquired this summer will go a long way toward rebuilding the team.