Pelicans 125 – Wizards 104: Where It All Went Wrong | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Pelicans 125 – Wizards 104: Where It All Went Wrong

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Updated: November 28, 2018

Although the Wizards entered Wednesday night’s game against the Pelicans having won three out of their last four games, some might put an asterisk by each of those victories.

They defeated a Los Angeles Clippers team that had played the previous night in Atlanta against the Hawks, then the Wizards defeated the aforementioned Pelicans without Anthony Davis, and just two nights ago they defeated a Houston Rockets team that did not have the services of Chris Paul (and Gerald Green)–although James Harden and Eric Gordon combined for 90 points.

Wednesday night’s matchup against the Pelicans represented a shot at legitimacy for the Wizards. Not only were the Pelicans winners of nine of 11 at home this season, but Anthony Davis was also in the lineup this time. A win for the Wizards would’ve made them winners of four out of the last five. Perhaps it could have given them confidence going into Friday night’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers, and served as notice to the rest of the NBA that their worst basketball was in their rearview mirror.

As nice and neat as that narrative would have been to watch (and write about), it didn’t fall into place quite that easily. Or at all.

The Wizards lost 125-104, they were out-rebounded 64-38, Anthony Davis torched them for 28 points and 15 rebounds, Jrue Holiday had 29 points, and Tim effin’ Frazier–the same Tim Frazier who woefully underachieved in a Wizards uniform–had 12 points, 12 assists and six rebounds in 36 minutes of play. Frazier hadn’t scored that many points since March of 2017, during his first stint with the Pelicans. He never scored that many points as a Wizard.

So where did it all go wrong for the Wizards?

At the 2:33 mark of the first quarter, the Pelicans were leading the Wizards 25-15 when Tomas Satoransky came into the game for John Wall. Satoransky and Austin Rivers were in the backcourt, Jeff Green and Kelly Oubre (who had 12 first-quarter points and played aggressively all night en route to 22 points including 4-8 from the 3-point line) were the forwards, and Markieff Morris was at center. They closed out the quarter on a 9-6 run, and the bench, unlike the starters who were struggling with ball movement and hitting open shots, flashed the necessary offensive continuity to keep the Wizards within striking distance.

Coach Brooks allowed that same lineup to start the second quarter, and while they weren’t able to come closer than six points, they continued to put pressure on the Pelicans—lifted by the hot 3-point shooting of Nikola Mirotic.

In response, Coach Brooks subbed out the hot-shooting Oubre in favor of Beal, and 30 seconds later the Pelicans increased their lead to 11 thanks to yet another 3-point shot by Mirotic. Then Green and Morris combined to score 10 points for the Wizards and the New Orleans lead was back down to six points. It crept back up to eight, and then Brooks took out the hot-shooting Green in favor of Oubre, and he brought back Wall for Satoransky.

That is exactly when the Wizards starting trending in the wrong direction.

From the 6:18 mark when Wall and Oubre were subbed back into the game until the 1:59 mark of the second quarter, the Wizards were outscored 10-0. With 1:58 left in the first half, Wall hit a desperation, double-clutched 3-pointer just before the shot clock expired. The Wizards scored just four more points the remainder of the quarter, but the Pelicans scored nine more. The halftime score was 67-47 in the Pelicans’ favor.

Wall played like a man possessed in the third quarter (9 points, 5 assists), as did Beal (12 points, 3 assists), but unfortunately for them Anthony Davis played better with 16 points. The Wizards never got closer than 11 points for the remainder of the night, and Coach Brooks was never able to find that magical lineup to slow Davis, Holiday or even Tim Frazier.

The loss dropped the Wizards to 8-13 overall and 2-8 on the road, which provoked a return to the woe-is-me platitudes from the team:

“We found our spirit at home… We still have to try to figure it out. We need to do it soon, because we’ve got a bunch of road games coming up in this month. There’s definitely a difference in the energy and intensity.” —Scott Brooks

“Didn’t guard the ball, didn’t help each other out. Transition was terrible. As to why, I don’t know. It’s kinda like we went to old habits tonight.” —Bradley Beal

The good news for the Wizards? They get a second chance at legitimacy on Friday night against the Philadelphia 76ers. Bad news? The Sixers have Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and now Jimmy Butler. A daunting task indeed.

And now, we’ll end on some positive words courtesy of Kelly Oubre, Sr.

 

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Rashad Mobley
Reporter/Writer at TAI
Rashad has been covering the NBA and the Washington Wizards since 2008—his first two years were spent at Hoops Addict before moving to Truth About It. Rashad has appeared on ESPN and college radio, SportsTalk on NewsChannel 8 in Washington D.C., and his articles have appeared on ESPN TrueHoop, USAToday.com, Complex Magazine, and the DCist. He considers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar a hero and he had the pleasure of interviewing him back in 2009.