The Washington Wizards had chances to win road games against the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs. They just could not make plays when necessary to get those wins.
Washington has had two days to digest its last-second loss to the Spurs and is hoping to get it done Monday night when it visits the Brooklyn Nets.
The Wizards are 6-12 with three losses in their last four games. It is the last two defeats that are especially frustrating.
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Last Wednesday against Oklahoma City, the Wizards came back from a 16-point deficit and held a seven-point lead with 5:35 left on a 3-pointer by Bradley Beal. They wound up with a 126-115 overtime loss by going 6-of-19 the rest of the way.
Two nights later in San Antonio, Washington held an 11-point lead early on and wound up coming back from 10 points down to get the game tied twice in the final 84 seconds. The ending was a Kawhi Leonard 20-footer with 20.1 seconds remaining and when Otto Porter missed a floater with 1.2 seconds remaining, the Wizards wound up with a 107-105 loss.
“Once again, we competed well and the game came down to one play,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. “I didn't like the way we played against them last week at our place, but tonight we did everything we could possibly do to get the win except get the win.”
It is a familiar refrain for the Wizards. Of the Wizards 12 defeats, half have been single digits with two of those close losses coming in overtime.
“We fought and we are making strides — we just have to find a way to make stops,” Wall said after getting 17 points and 15 rebounds. “We need to get over that hump. You can't have that many turnovers and beat a team that executes as well as San Antonio; for us to even be in the game with them at their home place with that many turnovers is impressive.”
On Friday, in the final three minutes of quarters, the Wizards were 8 of 24 from the floor. They were 7 of 20 in those situations in the first three quarters, which eventually set up the frustrating finish.
“Let another one go,” Wall said. “There are about seven games already this season for us that can haunt us (in regards to playoffs).”
The Nets have lost nine of their 10 games since they held a 4-5 record Nov. 12. Only two of those losses have been by single digits and most of those often feature a bad quarter.
For most of this skid, third quarters were problematic. In Saturday's 112-103 loss at Milwaukee, the Nets outscored the Bucks by seven in the third only to have the collapse occur late in the fourth.
In the final 12 minutes, the Nets held four one-point leads and a two-point lead on a 3-pointer by Brook Lopez. In the final 5:20, the Nets were outscored 20-9 by missing seven straight while allowing the Bucks to make four of their last six shots and hit 12 free throws.
“We were down one with five minutes, I thought we couldn't score,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. “We struggled to score.”
Bojan Bogdanovic led the Nets with 24 points but Lopez was held to 13 on 3-of-17 shooting. He made 3 of 9 shots from 3-point range but was 0-of-8 from inside the arc.
“We just kind of hurt ourselves,” Lopez said. “I definitely wasn't happy with the way I played. I am very disappointed in myself. That definitely affected the outcome. I think I let us down tonight, no question.”
Lopez is averaging 19.6 points but shooting a career-low 45.2 percent. He is shooting 37.3 from long range as he consistently becomes a perimeter threat for the first time in his career but inside the arc has been difficult at times as Lopez is 1 of 12 on two-point attempts.
The Wizards have won eight of the last 10 meetings and have swept the season series in two of the last three seasons.