After taking the first four games of a five-game western road trip last week, fatigue may have set in as the Washington Wizards stumbled out of the gate to start a new week. With four games on the slate, Washington could only salvage one victory as the team took a major step back in their quest to secure a top-two seed in the Eastern Conference. The AFRO recaps the week that wasn’t for the Washington Wizards.
March 13: Timberwolves, Towns Down Wizards, 119-104
The last game of Washington’s five-game road trip concluded with an early week showdown with the young Minnesota Timberwolves on March 13. Wizards stars John Wall (27 points) and Bradley Beal (20 points) led Washington, but couldn’t top a monster game from
Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns, who scored 39 points and hauled in 13 rebounds to guide the Timberwolves to a 119-104 win. Minnesota point guard Ricky Rubio recorded 19 assists, and the Timberwolves took complete advantage of a Washington team that appeared eager to return to the District. Minnesota led 41-23 after the first quarter and never struggled in putting the Wizards away.
March 15: Dallas Continues Domination in District with 112-107 Win
Things didn’t get better for Washington when they returned home on March 15 for a duel with the Dallas Mavericks, who they haven’t beaten since 2008. The streak continued as Dallas put away the home team, 112-107. Despite possessing a 12-point lead in the final quarter, Washington couldn’t hold off the Mavericks. Dallas opened the final quarter with a 24-7 run and Washington never recovered. Wall (26 points, 11 assists) and Beal (24 points) once again led the team in scoring, but the Wizards’ defense let them down again.
March 17: Wizards Hang on Against Bulls, 112-107
A March 17 home affair with the Chicago Bulls started out in great fashion, as the Wizards built a 19-point lead at halftime. Despite a late-minute scare from the visiting Bulls, Washington made just enough plays down the stretch to take a 112-107 victory and snap a two-game losing streak. Wall set a career-high with 20 assists as he orchestrated the Wizards offense perfectly for much of the night. Beal scored a team-high 24 points and
reserve bigs Jason Smith (17 points, seven rebounds) and Ian Mahinmi (16 points, two blocks) played well in the absence of starting forward Markieff Morris, who missed the contest with an illness. Chicago cut their halftime deficit to just one point late in the fourth quarter, and trailed by three with 18 seconds remaining. Chicago’s three-pointer from Jimmy Butler bounced off the back of the rim with three seconds left, and Wall iced a pair of free throws to set the final score.
March 18: Washington Runs out of Gas Against Charlotte, 98-93
Washington took back to the road the following night when they visited the Charlotte Hornets, but the outcome wasn’t the same as the night before. Missing Morris again due to illness, Washington couldn’t muster up enough offense to overtake the Hornets and dropped a 98-93 decision. It was a gritty game, with the largest lead of the contest amounting to only nine points. Wall (19 points) and Beal (18 points) again led the Wizards’ attack, but the visitors couldn’t push through a late-game stretch after trailing 88-80 with just over two minutes left. Washington cut it to four points after a Beal three-pointer with 1:07 remaining, but that was as close as they would get.
Despite dropping three games this week, Washington sits only three-and-a-half games back from first place in the Eastern Conference. The Wizards will return to action on March 20 when they visit the Boston Celtics with a chance to shorten the gap in the standings. Cleveland sits in first place in the East, with Boston in second.