WASHINGTON - It seems like things just keep getting worse in the nation’s capital as the season progresses. The Wizards are still struggling to beat teams with losing records, they have issues closing out games, Otto Porter is becoming less of a factor in the team’s offense, and now they can’t stop turning the ball over.
Despite the Wizards being among the least turnover-prone teams in the league, they’ve shown an inability to protect the ball as of late.
On Monday against the Bucks, the team committed 17 turnovers in the first half alone, more than they committed in 38 of the team’s first 43 games. In the second half, Washington did better, but their four turnovers in the third quarter and three in the fourth quarter resulted in a season-high 24 turnovers in their loss to Milwaukee.
Bradley Beal led the way with a season-high seven turnovers, including six in the first half as he struggled (as well as the rest of the team) to find driving lines against Milwaukee’s long-armed defense. John Wall had his share of turnovers as well, including two in the fourth quarter.
You could see the frustration on Scott Brooks’ face when he was asked about the turnovers after the game. After all, Washington gave up 25 points off of those turnovers.
“Throughout the game, we turned the ball over way too many times,” he said. “24 turnovers led to basically a lot of their transition points. Then, when we made them miss, they got second-chance points. I think they got 20 points from second-chance points. That’s the key. Turnovers and second-chance points. Late in the game, we missed some free throws, [and] we missed some layups. You don’t like that to happen, but throughout the game, there were too many turnovers and second-chance points that really hurt us tonight.”
The Wizards had similar issues in last week’s loss to the Utah Jazz. Even though Wall had 35 points and 11 assists and Beal eclipsed the 20-point mark for the 31st time this season, the Wizards’ inability to protect the ball cost them the game. They committed 23 turnovers which resulted in 27 free points for the Jazz.
Fittingly, that loss was bookended with turnovers. Wall turned it over on the Wizards opening play of the game:
Then, to end the game, Beal had arguably the worst turnover this season, when he elevated for a three-pointer but thought Utah’s Donovan Mitchell had recovered to defend the shot, so Beal never released the ball-instead allowing it to fall out of his hands.
The play earned harsh criticism from ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith and led to another loss against a losing team. After the game, when asked about the play, Beal’s face told the story: Unacceptable.
“Just too many (turnovers),” Beal said after the game. “You’re not going to win like that.”
While turnovers generally haven’t been the team’s Achilles Heel this season, their recent stretch reckless play with the ball is concerning. With all the problem surrounding this team, they can’t afford to give opposing teams more opportunities to keep games competitive. It has cost them recently and will continue to, especially against the teams Washington will face come playoff time if they can’t find a way to turn it around.