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The Wizards’ 4th quarter performance has fallen off over the last month

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NBA: Washington Wizards at Minnesota Timberwolves Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Not much has changed since the Wizards overhauled their team at the trade deadline. They were 22-32 before those moves at the deadline (a .407 winning percentage). They’re 5-7 since they acquired Bobby Portis, Jabari Parker, and Wesley Johnson (a .417 winning percentage). The Wizards weren’t a playoff team before the trade deadline, and they aren’t now.

Although the results haven’t changed, the way they’ve gotten there is different. Washington used to start games slow and come on strong at the end. From the start of the season until the trade deadline, the Wizards outscored opponents by 9.4 points per 100 possessions in the fourth quarter, the second-best net rating in the league during that time. Since the deadline, they’ve been outscored 2.9 points per 100 possessions, including big blown leads in back to back games against the Hornets and Timberwolves.

The Wizards’ fourth quarter defense has fallen off over the last month, but the big issue has been the offense. They went from the best fourth quarter offense to below-average in a month because Bradley Beal has returned to earth after tearing up the league for the first half of the season. He had a 66.1 effective field goal percentage in the fourth quarter before the deadline. Since then, he has a 50.9 effective field goal percentage.

There are a few different reasons Beal’s numbers could be slipping. Part of it is just sustainability. Posting an effective field percentage that high for an entire season is tough in any situation, especially when you’re the focal point of the offense. It probably doesn’t help that he’s played more minutes than anyone else in the league. Adjusting to new teammates can’t be helping things. Beal had developed a nice screen chemistry with Thomas Bryant. Now he’s trying to create something new with Bobby Portis. Replacing Otto Porter’s spacing with Jeff Green and Jabari Parker’s isn’t ideal either.

It will be interesting to monitor how the Wizards’ fourth quarter performance changes over the final month of the season. They have enough issues to solve this summer without figuring out how to reignite their fourth quarter offense which worked so well during the first half of the season.