The Wizards missed out on a chance to clinch a playoff spot, and took some body blows along the way as they fell to the Pistons 103-92 on Thursday night.
Washington and Detroit played to a draw through the first half, but things got out of hand in the third quarter when both of Washington’s healthy stars went down with injuries. First, Porter sprained his ankle early in the third quarter after he got tangled up with Stanley Johnson on a play and did not return to the game.
The Pistons went on a 24-11 run following Porter’s injury to establish a 15-point lead. Then, at the end of the quarter, Beal banged knees with Henry Ellenson. Beal did return, but missed the first half of the quarter while the medical team tended to his knee. While he was out the Wizards’ reserves went on a run to cut the deficit to four, but the shorthanded team ran out of gas to make it any closer.
In the end, Andre Drummond was just too much for the Wizards to handle. He put up 24 points and 23 rebounds to overcome the absence of Blake Griffin, who was a late scratch with a right ankle contusion.
Injuries put Oubre’s struggles in the spotlight
Going into the season, most people would have said Porter was the most expendable player in the team’s Big 3, but the team really struggled after he went down in this one. Kelly Oubre Jr. has been in a funk since January and the extra playing time he got this evening did not help things.
Since his breakout, 26 point game against the Pistons in late January, he hasn’t been able to find the basket. He’s shot 37.4 percent from the field, and 27.9 percent from deep. Worse yet, he’s averaging nearly a full attempt more per game in this stretch than he did before it.
The decline has been even sharper in the last week. He’s missed 16 straight threes, dating back to Friday’s game against the Nuggets.
Porter or no Porter, the Wizards need Oubre to find that balance in his scoring attack again if the Wizards have any hope of making noise in April. To be fair, his struggles started right before Wall underwent surgery. He’s spent most of the past two months playing with Tim Frazier and Ramon Sessions after getting accustomed to playing with John Wall and Tomas Satoransky. Wall’s return might be all it takes to get him back on track, but we’ll have to wait and see if that’s how it plays out.
- John Wall dressed and was listed as active for the game, but did not play. You have to think if he’s that close, a return on Saturday at home against the Hornets would make a lot of sense.
- The Wizards have only had 11 games this season where they’ve made six or fewer three-pointers. Two have come this week with their losses to the Knicks and the Pistons.
- X-rays came back negative on Otto Porter’s ankle after the game. As of now, it’s unclear if he’ll miss any time due to the injury. If he does, it will be interesting to see if Washington tries to sign a player with their open roster spot to shore up their depth at small forward.
Next up: The Wizards return home to host the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday at 3 p.m. ET.