Two losses in a row never feel great, but these last two games have been especially brutal for the Wizards. The Hawks closed the game by outscoring the Wizards 24-7 through the last six minutes to earn the win.
Friday, they surrendered a 40 point first quarter to the Boston Celtics who only averaged 19 points in the first quarter prior to last night. Tonight, they allowed a 39 points in the fourth quarter against the Hawks. They've turned the ball over 50 times in the last two games and have created new season-highs in turnovers in the last two games.
To make matters worse, Bradley Beal also left the game with an undisclosed injury. There are not a lot of positive signs from the Wizards coming from this one, but lets sift through the fog to see what we've learned.
Turnovers are not okay
In the game of basketball, turnovers can sometimes be acceptable. There is the occasional play where a player is trying to make an ambitious play and the ball just takes a wrong turn. But tonight, the Wizards had too many unforced errors off of lazy passes, bad ideas, and miscommunication. And what's more, John Wall and Beal combined for 15 turnovers to just 18 assists. That is simply unacceptable.
The Wizards are hampering their own offense by turning the ball over so much. They're giving the other team extra possessions and taking away from their own opportunities to score. Playing small is a fixation throughout the league now, but playing reckless is not. The Wizards need to take care of the ball.
Defense is an issue, but turnovers are contributing to it
The Wizards are not going to be the same team they have been in the past defensively. The team's chemistry and style of play are different. They're giving more negative defenders more minutes than ever before and the pace is as high as it has ever been for them.
But if the Wizards would stop turning the ball over, there would not be as many opportunities for opponents to score easy buckets. Kent Bazemore scored six straight points off of turnovers during Atlanta's 24-7 run. The Wizards allowed 33 points on 26 turnovers tonight. Last night, the Wizards allowed 24 points off of turnovers as well. That's 57 points out of 232.
Obviously that won't be reduced to zero, but reducing it period will help. That's not a defensive issue, that's an issue in taking care of the ball. And that issue has to be fixed before any defensive issues can be fixed.
The Wizards lost two straight ... but don't panic
The team sits at 3-3 right now after two straight losses. Their win against the San Antonio Spurs is the best win they have this season, and it was a pretty impressive one. Most of the Wizards' season has been plagued with turnovers, but overall the backcourt has been spectacular and they've been able to win close games.
Blowouts are not a good sign, but these turnovers are the crux of their current issues. As the season goes on, the chemistry will improve and they should see a reduction in turnovers there. Jared Dudley is still coming on and fitting in, Alan Anderson isn't healthy yet and did I mention the backcourt is great?
These last two games stink, but the season is not over yet. The Wizards have plenty of time to make up for lost ground.