They say basketball is a game of runs. The Wizards’ 116-101 loss to the Cavaliers on Saturday night was a game of one run, specifically the 20-3 run the Cavaliers used over the final five minutes of the first quarter to turn a four-point deficit into a 13-point lead at the end of the quarter.
When a run like that happens, you expect to see the other team respond with a run in kind. It may not happen right away, but usually the opposing team musters up some kind of response to make the game competitive again, even though it usually means they give up another run to make it a blowout again. Tonight ... the Wizards never made that charge, unless you count the one the Wizards’ reserves spearheaded in the closing minutes of garbage time to cut a 29 point lead down to 15 before the final horn.
It would be one thing if the team was packing it in on the second night of a back-to-back after a rough stretch of games, but you couldn’t have asked for a much better situation for Washington going into this game. They were riding a three-game winning streak and had two nights off before facing a 5-20 team that had just lost to the Kings by 19 the night before.
Even though the game was on the road, everything about this screamed “schedule win” for Washington ... until the game happened. The Wizards have now lost 8 games by 15 points or more, the fifth-most of any team in the league this season.
John Wall turns in arguably the worst game of his career
Wall scored a career-low 1 point on 0-of-5 shooting while his counterpart Collin Sexton tied a career-high with 29 points on 13-of-23 shooting. The numbers show the issues and so does the tape.
Watching John Wall not give a damn about defending this PNR was jarring. pic.twitter.com/KYFmsdDcZn— Chris Manning (@cwmwrites) December 9, 2018
The only consolation here is that at least some of Wall’s struggles are explainable. He just re-joined the team on Saturday mornings after being around for the birth of his first child. Then, after the game Scott Brooks revealed Wall was playing under the weather and Candace Buckner reported Wall is playing through bone spur issues.
John Wall spent most of the postgame sitting near his stall and using a device to massage up & down his left leg. He’s been dealing with a lingering bone spur in his left heel. He took five shots and three from the arc —Wall said the injury kept him from driving as he likes to.— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) December 9, 2018
It’s impossible to know what contributed the most to Wall’s struggles on Saturday, but hopefully the team can identify and address those issues quickly, because of where you stand on Wall’s value to the Wizards franchise, we can all agree he isn’t helping anyone but the opposition when he’s scoring one point.
Bradley Beal carries the load alone
Beal had another solid night at the office, scoring 27 points and adding 5 assists and 4 rebounds. The rest of the starters combined for 25 points. There’s only so much you can do.
Next Up: The Wizards return to action on Monday at 7 pm Eastern Time when they take on the Indiana Pacers.