This is the second straight “extended garbage-time loss” the Washington Wizards suffered. That leads to the inevitable question: Never, never, ever tank?
On paper, the Wizards were facing a Pelicans squad missing its two big stars: Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. The Wizards were missing their top player in Bradley Beal. But they were also playing at home.
Well, paper doesn’t matter much in basketball. The Wizards started strong, but were a no-show in a second quarter that started 37-35 for the Wizards and ended 68-56 for the Pelicans. It’s hard to win basketball games when you give up 68 points in a half.
The Wizards shot a very good 41% from deep on volume (14-34), beating the Pelicans in that category (10-26 for 38.5%). They evened out on the free throw front percentage-wise, but got to the line much less than their opponent (14-18 compared to the Pelicans’ 24-31). Rebounding was more or less even (37 vs 44 for the Pelicans).
So how did the Wizards lose?
The Wizards turned the ball over way to much: 20 to only 10 by the Pelicans. The Wizards turnovers translated to 39 points by the Pelicans which is going to cost you the game almost any night.
Oh, and by the way the Wizards also got 2 technicals and a flagrant (to none on the other side), which didn’t help.
On the winning side CJ McCollum did serious damage (4-8 from deep) and overall 34 points on 21 shots , and Valanciunas had 27 points on 15 shots. Naji Marshall who is developing into an important piece for the Pelicans had 18 points and was +19 in his 34 minutes. Jose Alvarado and Devonte Graham both contributed from the bench (10 and 11 points and 4-for-6 from deep combined).
On the losing side, Kuzma played only 23 minutes but had a sort-of kinda decent game, shooting 3-from-8 from deep and overall 19 points in 13 shots. Not super efficient but not bad in isolation. This was very much crippled though by Kuz’s 5 turnovers. Oh, and Kuz also fouled out in just 23 minutes.
Deni Avdija played 22 minutes and attempted 6 shots. Two went in. He also had 4 rebounds and 3 assists and managed to foul just twice.
Kispert shot at volume and made some, going 5-for-10 from three, totaling 17 points on 12 shots. He also had 3 turnovers to just one assist.
Porzingis seemed to have a decent game, 23 points in 16 shots, and 3-for-5 from deep, with no fouls (!) and just one turnover.
The Wizards next face the Bulls for what should be quite a tough game, given the Wizards lackluster effort and uninspiring performances of late. But, as everybody knows, every Wizards loss gets the franchise closer to keeping that 2023 lottery pick from the John Wall trade.