With so much on the line for the Wizards, in what John Wall called their "biggest game of the season" against the Charlotte Bobcats, they began like a team headed to the draft lottery and fell down by 20 points. Defense brought them back in the second half as they took the lead briefly in the fourth quarter and went into overtime where they lost yet again, 94-88, to fall in the Eastern Conference playoff seedings.
The Wizards (40-38) are 4-8 in overtimes. The Bobcats (40-38) now have a firm hold on the No. 6 seed -- and the Wizards drop to seventh because they lost the season series 3-1 -- with four games left in the regular season. They've lost three of their last five games, including twice to Charlotte.
The No. 7 seed will play either the Indiana Pacers or Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs instead of the No. 3 seed which likely will be the Toronto Raptors or Chicago Bulls.
With the score tied at 85 and 18 seconds left in the fourth, Wall fed Marcin Gortat who made a tough catch in traffic and turned for the layup with 10 seconds left. But the Wizards blew a coverage, and didn't use the foul they had to give which allowed Al Jefferson to score a layup to force the extra period.
Wall had his second triple-double of the season with 14 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists, Gortat had a game-high 27 points and 14 rebounds and Trevor Booker was almost perfect in scoring 16 points -- 4-for-5 from the field and 8-for-8 from the foul line and a season-high five blocks.
Jefferson had 20 points and a game-high 18 rebounds and Kemba Walker, who made the only field goal in overtime on a contested three-point shot over Wall, had 17 points and 12 assists. Josh McRoberts scored all 12 of his points in the first half and Gerald Henderson had 10 of his 13 as the Bobcats took their biggest lead at 50-30. Fortunately for Washington, an 11-4 followed to cut it to 54-41 by halftime to keep them in striking distance.
Bradley Beal only had eight points for on 4-for-15 shooting, including 0-for-4 in overtime. The Wizards' only point in OT came on a free throw from Wall.
Turning point: Up 83-80 and the chance to make it a two-possession game, Wall turned it over with 2:54 left in the game as he tried to dribble too much in traffic and McRoberts came up with the steal. Less than 30 seconds later, Walker tied the score on a step-back three-point shot.
Key stats: Washington was 1-for-15 on three-point shots. ... Combined the teams shot 1-for-15 in OT.
Back in action: Nene came off the bench in his first action since Feb. 23. He entered with 3:12 left in the first quarter with Washington down 26-14. He immediately got the ball and drew a foul on Jefferson with his ability to beat him with the dribble. But he missed all four of his free throws in the first half and his first two shots, including a reverse layup. When Nene re-entered in the third quarter, he hit his first shot and went on to finish with 10 points on 5-for-9 shooting in 17 minutes. He's on a minutes restriction coming off his left knee ligament strain.
Sick time: Trevor Ariza missed all six of his shot attempts and appeared out of it. He didn't score in 39 minutes after having a bout with the flu since late last week.
From the locker room: "I was really worried this afternoon that we'd be too fired up and almost come out the other way, which you kind of worry about. I was just not expecting to come out and go through the motions like we did in the first half." -- Wizards coach Randy Wittman
"They basically were scoring and we didn't make shots. The last couple games we've been in a slump of not scoring in the first half. Then in the second half they missed a lot of their threes and we played better defense and got back into the game." -- Wall
"That's the reason we've been top 10 in defense all year. That's the reason we have the success we have right now. When the offense is not going, the post offense not going, guys not making shots, we get back to what we need to do." -- Jefferson on holding Washington without a field goal in OT
Up next: The Wizards likely will shoot around Thursday before leaving for Orlando, where they'll face the Magic at Amway Center on Friday (CSN+, 7 p.m. ET).