Randy Wittman tries to remain positive after tough loss
Just when the Washington Wizards seemed to have figured out every possible way to lose close ball games this year, the Golden State ending happened Saturday night at Verizon Center.
Down 99-97 with 4 seconds left in the game, Wizards rookie Bradley Beal intentionally missed his second attempt and the ball somehow ended up back in Beal's hands three feet from the basket, but his wide open layup was partially blocked by Warriors’ center Festus Ezeli. Golden State's Carl Landry got the rebound, was fouled and made two free throws to seal the game, 101-97.
"I got a clean look and I should have finished," Beal, who finished with 17 points, said bluntly.
"That was about as good a missed free throw as you could ask for," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "We just couldn't finish the shot."
Ironically, the Wizards couldn't hit the free throws they needed to make, going 14-23 from the line for the game. It proved costly down the stretch.
"We’ve got to start winning these close games," Wizards guard Jordan Crawford said. The Wizards record is a league worst 2-15.
Crawford hit a flurry of late three-pointers to bring the Wizards back into the game. Down 93-86, Crawford hit back-to-back three's to cut the Warriors’ lead to 95-92 with 53.8 seconds left.
The Wizards had possession down three and Martell Webster was fouled but he hit only one of two free throws with 16.1 seconds left to cut Golden State's lead to 95-93.
The Wizards quickly fouled Stephon Curry and he made his free throws to push the Warriors lead back to 97-93 with 15.2 seconds left.
The Wizards would cut the lead to 97-96 on a Beal three with 8 seconds left and Curry (22 points) once again made two free throws to give Golden State a three-point lead. The Warriors opted to foul Beal and send him to the line setting up another gut wrenching defeat.
"That's part of growing up," Wittman said. "Mama said there would be days like this."
Notes: A.J. Price fractured his right hand in the first quarter and he will see a specialist Monday. It's not immediately known how long he will be out but Wittman said it will be for a "little while." Read more about the injury here.