Washington Wizards Blog - Wizards struggles continue

Week 21 Preview

In typical 2015-2016 Wizards fashion, the team followed an impressive four game win streak to get to 30-30, by losing five in a row, including Saturday’s loss in Denver to a then 27-38 Nuggets team.  That game, in particular, was disconcerting, in that the team was up by as much as 11 in the fourth quarter, but was outscored by 24 in the quarter to lose by 16.  The Wizards are now 3.5 games behind Detroit for 8th in the conference and 4.5 games behind the 7th seeded Pacers, and they really need to win the next four games to hang onto any small chance at playoff hopes.  This week, Washington has a chance to win the tiebreaker over the two teams above them in the playoff race, Detroit and Chicago, before playing two of the bottom teams in the league by visiting Philadelphia and hosting New York.

As the team leader, Wall maintained recently that this recent stretch was a must win, and yet the team managed to get blown out on Friday and Saturday in Utah and Denver.

The overtime loss in Portland was a huge gut punch, after Washington led by double digits early in the 3rd quarter, but managed to still be behind going into the 4th quarter, as well as leading by 4 with less than a minute left in regulation.  A controversial call late in the game may have helped Portland come back in the final seconds, but the team has little right to complain at this point in the season.

As has been said many times before “They are who we thought they are.”  And although we thought Washington would maybe be a top 3 seed in the Eastern Conference this season, they’re certainly more like the recent version we’ve seen.

Unfortunately, the Wizards are in the worst possible place looking ahead.  Likely not good enough to make the playoffs, and likely not bad enough to keep the top-9 protected first round pick that was traded for Markieff Morris.  If Washington ends the season with the 10th worst record or above, it would need to have a top 3 pick in the lottery to move up and keep the pick.  Things could definitely be awkward for whoever attends the draft lottery in May.

The Zards currently have the 12th worst record in the league.  Sitting 3.5 games out of 8th in the East, and 2.5 games ahead of the Nuggets, who currently have the 9th worst record.  With only 17 games left, the panic is in full force among the fans, and tanking has been floated as a legit possibility.  Unfortunately for those, as long as John Wall is out there tanking is not a possibility.  But lucky for them, Washington may not need to tank to continue the losing ways.

The Wizards are going to have to come back from the dead to give any chance of avoiding having high level personnel fired, so we prepare for the seemingly inevitable by taking a look at the best scenes of people being fired.

Notable Firings

Office Space

Boogie Nights

Casino

Anchorman

Jerry Maguire

Half Baked

American Beauty

The Invention of Lying

Up in the Air

Seinfeld

The Incredibles

The Simpsons

 

This Week’s Matchups

Washington Wizards Blog - Pistons at Wizards
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Monday vs. Pistons (34-32)

The Wizards week begins by hosting the team currently holding the #8 seed.  Washington plays Detroit Monday night on ESPN, in game 3 of 4 in the season series.  Washington is up 2-0 in the season series, so a win at home will be huge as Washington can win a tiebreaker over the Pistons heading into the final four weeks of the season, before hosting Chicago in another tiebreaker situation two days later.

Washington won the first two games 97-95 and 98-86.  Wall is averaging 15 points, 5 rebounds and 7.5 assists in the two games, including only 8 points in game 1, but the team has done a great job defending Andre Drummond in the pick and roll this year.  Drummond is averaging 9.5 points and 13 rebounds, over 7 points and 2 rebounds below his season average.  This could be an issue Monday however, as the Wizards have recently struggled a lot defending the PnR.

Washington has been playing well at home recently, and hopefully, getting back to Verizon Center will help this team that was unprepared for a favorable three game road trip last week.

Scheduling: Game 4: 4/8 @ Pistons

Washington Wizards Blog - Chicago Bulls play Washington as playoffs loom

Wednesday vs. Bulls (32-32)

Wednesday, the Wizards see their favorite team, as Chicago comes to the Verizon Center.  Last time we saw Washington play one of the more disappointing performances of the season.  Chicago, playing without Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, Nikola Mirotic, and Joakim Noah, won in the Windy City 109-104 back on February 25.  This time Butler and Rose should be back, but Gasol will miss the game. In the previous meeting Chicago shot 50%, got 25 points from the bench duo of Doug McDermott and Aaron Brooks, and a near triple double from Pau Gasol, who had 10 points, 15 rebounds, and 9 assists, on only 5 shots.  Gaol has routinely killed the Wizards even when not taking many shots.

Chicago plays in Toronto Monday night, but the one day of rest between games should allow Butler to play in both games.

The teams only play three games on the season, so this will act as the tiebreaker.

Update: Derrick Rose out Monday in Toronto

 

Washington Wizards Blog - Wizards need a win vs. the lowly 76ers
(Yong Kim/Philadelphia Daily News/TNS)

Thursday @ 76ers (9-57)

The scheduling Gods still have sprinkled gifts throughout the last month of the season to keep you holding on when it seems you shouldn’t.  Depending on the outcomes early in the week this could be one of those games.

With that said though, Wizards fans do have to be worried about this for two reasons.  The team’s tendency to play down to opponents, and the last meeting that occurred.  In that game, Washington came back from down 7 with 9 minutes left, mostly from the play of Wall, who scored 37 points on the night, and Gortat with 18 points and a career-high 20 rebounds.

Jahlil Okafor, who did not play the last meeting, is out for the rest of the year.

Previous 3 (All wins): 106-94, 103-94, 116-108

Washington Wizards Blog - Last game before Carmelo joins the Wizards?
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Saturday vs. Knicks (28-40)

The last game of the week, New York comes to Verizon, as the Knicks look to finish out another lackluster campaign in Kurt Rambis interim year.  Not much has gone well for the Knicks, looking back to training camp when head coach Derek Fisher was involved in an off court “fight” with Memphis’ Matt Barnes, to them dropping from playoff hopeful to bottom feeder, to interim head coach Kurt Rambis sketchy Twitter activity.

On the court New York has won 4 of its last 10 games, with the only win against a playoff hopeful team being against Detroit.  In fact, NY hasn’t beaten a team that was top 10 in its conference since a January 20th win against the Jazz, when they were 22-22.  Their record since? 6-18.  NY will be coming off two days of rest after playing in Golden State on Wednesday.

The last meeting between the two was a three point win for Washington in Rambis’ debut just before the All-Star break.  The teams were tied going into the fourth quarter, and the Wizards were led by the backcourt who were outstanding.  Wall and Beal combined for 54 points and 8 three-pointers, while Wall added 17 assists, and Beal had 4 steals.  The Knicks were led by 33 from Carmelo and 20 from Porzingis.  Starting point guard Jose Calderon laid an egg, scoring 0 points.

Last note:  Maybe it’s time for Carmelo to defer the last second shots.  Not to Porzingis, but to Calderon…

Bonus Coverage

Randy walking into Ernie’s office on the last day of the regular season, hoping to get ahead of any firings

Then coming in the next day

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