This game got off to an interesting start with both Rui Hachimura and the Suns’ DeAndre Ayton both getting in early foul trouble. As a result, the Wizards went 11 deep in their rotation just in the first quarter alone.
Wizards got some nice early contributions from Jerome Robinson off the bench, with 13 big points in the 1st half. Robinson finished with 20. He was a major reason why the Wizards continued to stay in the game early on.
The Wizards as a whole struggled with fouls throughout the game. Wizards picked up 15 fouls within the first 18 minutes of play. This got Phoenix into the penalty early in the 2nd quarter and allowed them to pick up some easy points from the charity stripe. In total the Suns took 21 free throws before halftime and made all of them. Wizards trailed 67-52 at the break.
This was a rough game for Rui overall to start out. Only playing 3 minutes before his 2nd foul did him no favors, but he often looked lost on the court. Picked up a few silly turnovers to go with uninspiring defense. He played better in the 2nd half and finished with 21 points and 8 rebounds, but his impact was diminished as the Suns were well in control by the time Rui got back on the floor from being in foul trouble.
In the second half the Wizards picked up the pace, played a cleaner game on both sides of the court to get back into it. They got within 7, but they could not get stops. Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton begin to pour in the points.
From there, the Wizards simply could not get any closer and fall to the Suns, 125-112. The loss cost the Wizards a golden opportunity to make ground on the Brooklyn Nets, as they lost earlier today. The loss will keep the Wizards 5.5 games out of the 8th and final playoff spot with 7 more seeding games left.
The Defensive Struggles Travel to the Bubble
Halftime: Wizards 52 Suns 67. This marks the 28th time this season they gave up at least 65 points at halftime.— Chris Miller (@cmillsnbcs) July 31, 2020
This team has not defended all season long and it continues to hinder them.
No Answer for Devin Booker
The Wizards tried a number of different defenders on Booker. Issac Bonga had some nice stops but overall this team had no answer for Booker. He finished with a game-high 27 points, including 9-9 from the free throw line.
Who is going to take up the scoring load without Beal?
Rui finished with 21 points and Jerome Robinson poured in 20 points. The question will be, is this going to be the formula for the next 7 games. More than likely it will not and they will need more contributions from Troy Brown Jr, Thomas Bryant and others. Overall Robinson’s play was encouraging but if he is not consistently putting up those numbers, more help will be needed if the Wizards will make something of the rest of this season.
Try TBJ at Point?
At some point while the Wizards are down in the bubble, I wonder if they will try to use Troy Brown Jr at point more. This is a great opportunity for this team to see what roles players will have going forward. Shabazz Napier didn’t have his best game. He was sloppy at times, and missed a lot of shots. Doesn’t hurt to at least see what TBJ has especially if Napier continues to put in clunkers like he did today.