The Washington Wizards haven't been able to finish games all season, and fans are now accustomed to seeing the team surrender big leads down the stretch. But it was a different story last night against the Atlanta Hawks, as the Wizards battled back from a 15-point fourth-quarter deficit to take the lead in the final minute, only to lose it on two clutch free throws from game-MVP Al Horford, and then fall 101-99 in overtime on a buzzer-beating Horford jumper.
The late rally was only required because of how listless Washington had been the previous three-plus quarters. John Wall started the game 1-for-10 from the field before leading the comeback almost single-handedly, scoring 11 points in the fourth quarter. But with the game tied and final chance to win the game in regulation, rather than running a play, Wall opted to dribble out the clock and chuck up a fadeaway jumper, which predictably airballed.
Getting a second-straight start for an injured Nene, Trevor Booker was a beast, scoring 24 points and grabbing 14 rebounds, both team-highs. But the Wizards missed Nene's savvy defensively, as Booker and Marcin Gortat had no answer for Horford, who finished with 34 points and 15 rebounds, both game-highs.
Washington is not on a three-game skid, all three losses coming on a combined seven points, and the last two coming in overtime. This team is finding ways to lose games right now, and it's not about to get any easier with the Los Angeles Clippers coming to town Saturday.
Home team recaps: BF StoryStream | Washington Post (gamer, sidebar) | AP | CSN Washington (recap, sidebar) | Wiz of Awes | Wizards.com | Monumental Network
Road team recaps: Peachtree Hoops | Atlanta Journal-Constitution (gamer, sidebar) | ATL All Day
Postgame interviews: Randy Wittman | John Wall | Trevor Booker | Marcin Gortat | Otto Porter
14 - Washington's rebounding advantage against Atlanta. Six Wizards have six or more rebounds.
5 - combined three-point attempts by Martell Webster and Trevor Ariza against the Hawks, who kept Washington's best shooters in check. Let's hope future opponents didn't notice Atlanta's gameplan.
TWEETS OF THE NIGHT
Otto Porter Jr. with his 1st NBA bucket. Sweet pull-up J. Seems fitting since it came on an assist from his "twin" Garrett Temple. #wizards— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) December 14, 2013
Jan Vesely just hit a defender with a quick spin move and made a fluid jump hook in semi-transition. What is this...— Bullets Forever (@BulletsForever) December 14, 2013
John Wall is pumped up after hitting a Three... #Wizards https://t.co/o8syFT0VuG— Danny (@recordsANDradio) December 14, 2013
What a terrible attempt by Wall... will probably be frowned upon by basketball gawds in OT.— Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) December 14, 2013
#wizards have lost past 3 games to MIL, DEN & ATL by a combined 7 points. Two losses were in OT after WAS rallied from 15-pt deficits— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) December 14, 2013
VIDEO/GIF OF THE NIGHT
This seems cruel, but whenever there's a buzzer-beating game winner, it's the only option.
Now, if you'd like to feel better, just remember, all them toys. (H/T @Truth_About_It)
GAMETHREAD COMMENT OF THE NIGHT
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