Wake-up call: Sloppy ball-handling plagues Wizards

Wake-up call: Sloppy ball-handling plagues Wizards
January 27, 2014, 6:00 am
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(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

Whenever the Wizards lose a lead or allow a game that is close to get out of control, the culprit is almost always turnovers. Nene had four in the fourth quarter, and those giveaways contributed heavily to the Phoenix Suns being able to tie the score at 93 late in the fourth quarter. 

Fortunately for Washington, it was able to find a way to win despite having 19 turnovers, six by the 7-footer, Friday. In Saturday's loss to the Utah Jazz, however, they weren't so fortunate.

Leading midway through the third quarter by eight points, the Wizards (21-22) came unraveled when John Wall had two turnovers, there was a 24-second shot clock violation and Garrett Temple contributed with a giveaway. They entered the fourth tied at 77 with the Jazz, and compounded the issue with turnovers from Bradley Beal, Nene and Kevin Seraphin. They were quickly behind 89-81 and couldn't recover. 

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"It'll be like careless turnovers. We get too passive, not taking the open shot, trying to make the extra play, or  get the extra pass for no reason," said Wall, who had two vs. Phoenix after averaging more than four in the previous six games. "We do what we've got to do, move the ball, but if you've got an open shot you've got to take it. Be confident. Sometimes we're not confident and turn the ball over and let teams get into their fast break and get back into the game."

In a seven-minute stretch of the second quarter vs. the Boston Celtics last week, the Wizards went from being down by six to 19. Beal, Temple, Martell Webster, Wall (twice) and Trevor Ariza committed the giveaways. They'd come back to tie the score but lose this game in overtime. 

"It's as simple as that," coach Randy Wittman said about turnovers being the culprit. "Like I like to tell them, just get a shot attempt each and every time. Especially when you've worked hard to develop a 10-, 12-, 15-, 16-point lead just make sure you get a shot attempt each time down the floor because usually good things are going to happen. We're going to score some of those. When we go five of seven possessions where you turn it over that 16-point lead is down to six now. Those five turnovers are usually points at the other end. That's where we get into trouble."