The Washington Wizards lost to the Charlotte Hornets 101-87 on the road Wednesday. With the loss, they have gone 0-2 in their current stretch of four games in five days. Six Charlotte players scored in double figures, while Gary Neal led the Wizards with 18 points off the bench on 7 of 13 shooting.
If there was a defining moment of the game, it would be the fourth quarter, where Washington started the game with an 81-74 lead and were leading 85-76 after Jared Dudley made a pair of free throws with 9:53 remaining. From there, things were ugly.
The Swarm is on! https://t.co/yKST4c2EdO— Albert L. (@aleeinthedmv) November 26, 2015
Very ugly, since the Wizards allowed the Hornets to score 25 unanswered points while they missed 17 consecutive shots and only made one field goal that quarter -- even before this run started. By the time Charlotte scored 20 straight points, neither play-by-play announcer Steve Buckhantz or color analyst Phil Chenier could say anything.
Wizards give up a 20-0 run. Even Buckhantz has no words for this https://t.co/313P0IjuyK— Albert L. (@aleeinthedmv) November 26, 2015
To be fair, it was the right thing to do. There aren't many appropriate words that can describe how deflating that run was.
So, let's go through some takeaways on why this game was depressing.
The Wizards' defense was poor in the fourth quarter while their offense completely sputtered
You don't need a shot a chart to show how bad the Wizards performed in the fourth quarter, but I'll show it anyway.
The Wizards' shot chart vs. the Hornets in that fourth quarter pic.twitter.com/876A8zVIFq— Albert L. (@aleeinthedmv) November 26, 2015
but it wasn't like the Hornets scored 22 unanswered points at a low shooting percentage. Here's their shot chart from those same 12 minutes:
The Hornets' shot chart vs. the Wizards in that fourth quarter pic.twitter.com/feRnK2f6Hn— Albert L. (@aleeinthedmv) November 26, 2015
To summarize this chart, the Hornets shot at an efficient 50 percent from the field where they made 3 of 7 three pointers and 5 of 7 shots from close to the basket. Therefore, I'm not surprised that Washington gave up 27 points in the fourth quarter.
Turnovers aren't why the Wizards lost, but it's still a concern
It's becoming a broken record, but the offense can only be so good when John Wall is averaging five turnovers a game in his last four contests. The Wizards gave up 14 turnovers -- less than their average of 16.5 per game before tonight, but it's still an area that needs to be addressed nevertheless because they are one of the worst NBA teams in that regard.
The Wizards' strong third quarter made the fourth quarter just that much more disappointing
Despite the fact that the Wizards lost in devastating fashion, their third quarter performance was strong. This was when they scored 27 points and held the Hornets to 28.6 percent on 6 of 21 shooting from the field.
I was even more impressed with the fact that Washington forced Charlotte to commit eight turnovers despite the fact that the Hornets were the best team in turnover percentage (11.3 percent) before tonight, according to Basketball-Reference. If there's a style of basketball we want to see the Wizards play for an entire 48 minutes, it's like this.
And that's the thing that made this game so deflating. They followed a strong third quarter performance with the aforementioned fourth quarter from hell.
It's time to start making some adjustments. Despite the fact that the Wizards are playing faster, it's not resulting in a more efficient offense. The faster pace also perhaps is playing a factor as to why their defensive efficiency has been in free fall from last season.
The Wizards have Thursday off to enjoy Thanksgiving Day with their families. But another challenging back-to-back looms ahead this weekend as they face off against the Celtics on the road Friday and host the Raptors on Saturday. If they lose both of these games, you have to wonder whether it's time to think about making even more significant changes.