For the second game in a row the Wizards managed to gain a lead late in the fourth quarter. For the second game in a row, the Wizards managed to blow that fourth quarter lead.
John Wall put up another double-double with 26 points and 12 assists, but it wasn't enough to get it done against the New Orleans Pelicans. The team lost another man with Bradley Beal out with a sore right leg and it is unclear when his return will be.
Suffice to say, this is not how the Wizards wanted to start their four game road trip., With 6:24 left in the game, the Wizards had a 97-90 lead after closing out a 10-2 run off a John Wall three point shot. But the Pelicans came roaring back with an ridiculous run of their own and tied the game at 100.
They battled back and forth throughout the final three minutes of the fourth quarter but the tide changed when Anthony Davis hit a three pointer to tie the game at 103. From that point on, it was mostly Pelicans.
The Wizards managed to claw their way back into the game after Tyreke Evans missed one of two free throws to give the Pelicans 107 points, but Gary Neal missed a midrange jumper off of a drive and kick from Wall that would've sent the game into overtime.
This is one of many disheartening losses the Wizards could have had this season, but they're going to have to pick up the pieces and start over again tomorrow night when they see the Dallas Mavericks who they lost to last week.
Here's what we've learned.
The Wizards can't defend the 3
The Wizards have allowed their last five opponents to shoot 45 percent from three overall. Tonight, the Pelicans hit a season high 16 of 27 three pointers tonight. Tyreke Evans had a career high five three pointers against the team. Normally, Evans is good for 25 percent of his threes.
There's something to be said about the way opponents are shooting threes against this team. Their defensive scheme is an ultra-aggressive one where they try and trap the ball high and force opponents into turning the ball over.
The Wizards sending hard doubles to players in the post as teams try to post up Jared Dudley is reasonable, but their opponents shooting this well from three is not. The team has to be able to adjust on the fly, and they're not doing that.
The Wizards don't have the best defenders, but I'd chalk this issue up to scheme. We'll have to dive into it deeper, but it's an issue either way.
Randy Wittman hurts the Wizards late again
After not playing Dudley in the fourth quarter on Wednesday night after hurting the Houston Rockets with their small ball, Wittman pulls Gortat out of the fourth quarter until the 43 second mark tonight.
The Wizards might be depleted, but there's no excuse for riding DeJaun Blair until there are five minutes left in the fourth quarter. You play your best players down the stretch and Wittman, for two nights in a row, has elected not to do so.
The Pelicans scored 30 points on the Wizards in the fourth quarter tonight and had plenty of drive and kick lanes to choose from. The Wizards defense was consistently scrambled in the fourth tonight and they were playing on their heels.
If you have a big clogging the lane up the dynamic of the game changes drastically. There's really no excuse for that decision.
John Wall has officially found a rhythm
The Pelicans are not the best defense in the league -- they're actually the worst. But Wall still had an amazing game against them and beat them from every area of the floor.
He did it in the post, from three, from the midrange, at the rim and in the paint. And, really, this is something he's done all month long. Wall said he sprained his ankle at the beginning of November against the San Antonio Spurs and that hampered him, but the way he's playing now isn't just because of a good bill of health.
Wall's seeing the floor in this new offense better, making better decisions, attacking in different ways and going fearlessly at the rim. This is a great sign of things to come for the Wizards and hopefully they can start winning instead of wasting these great games from him.