Wizards lose in dramatic fashion

Wizards lose in dramatic fashion
January 4, 2013, 10:30 pm
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Nets Wizards Highlights

Give the Wizards credit. They seem to invent ways to lose basketball games in dramatic fashion.

The near-misses in the Wizards’ excruciating season are beginning to run together, but Friday night’s 115-113 defeat to the Brooklyn Nets in double overtime stands out as one of the most gut-wrenching.

After sending the game into a first overtime on a last-second drive to the basket by Nene and getting it into a second overtime on a majestic, last-second three from rookie Bradley Beal, the Wizards had a chance to force a third overtime when Beal went to the free throw line with 9.1 seconds remaining and the Wizards down by 2.

Beal, who might be the second-most mature rookie athlete in Washington, calmly drained both, giving the Nets one last possession to win the game.

They used it well.

Joe Johnson hit a fadeaway jumper over Beal with 0.7 seconds remaining to give the Nets [18-15] their fourth win in their last five games. The Wizards [4-27] have now lost four in a row, 12 of their last 13 and 27 of 31 overall.

“How many times have we been here?” wondered Wizards coach Randy Wittman. “I’ve lost count.”

What bothered Wittman most was that the Wizards had a 101-93 lead with 1:27 remaining in the first overtime, but saw the Nets score 11 straight points to take a 104-101 lead with 3.4 seconds remaining.

“We have to close that out,” Wittman said.

Beal agreed, saying it was another case of the Wizards lacking a killer instinct.

“We felt as though the game was already over,” he said. “We had them on their heels and we let them back in too easy. It was kind of the same thing that happens every time.”

That’s when Beal worked his magic, stepping beyond the arc at the top of the key and letting go a perfect jumper to tie the score at 104-104. The officials on the floor reviewed the play but it was clear the ball left Beal’s hands with about 1 second remaining.

“We just stayed with it,” Beal said. “It just shows we never give up and keep playing until the end. It was great hitting that shot but it would have been better if we won.”

At one point near the end of regulation, the Wizards went more than 4 minutes without scoring a point. Then, with 15.2 seconds left in the first overtime Jordan Crawford [23 points] had a chance to put the Wizards up by 3 with a pair of free throws.

Not only did he miss both, but Nene fouled Brook Lopez [game-high 27 points] while trying to grab a rebound and Lopez sank both free throws to give the Nets the lead.

Nene was infuriated by the call and declined to talk to reporters after the game, saying, “If I say something I’m going to get fined by the league.”

Wittman couldn’t pin the loss on one mistake because were so many of them down the stretch.

“We turned the ball over,” he said. “We got doubled, we wouldn’t pass. Why? I don’t know. We missed free throws. Why does that happen? I don’t know why. We did. It’s making one play down the stretch, One play.”

Beal led the Wizards with 24 points, followed by Crawford with 23 and Nene with 20, while the Nets were paced by Lopez and Deron Williams, [24 points].

After shooting 54 percent through the first three quarters the Wizards couldn’t buy a bucket in the fourth, making just four of 15 attempts before a last-second drive by Nene that sent the game into the first overtime.

Nene took an in-bounds pass from Garrett Temple in the lane, spun hard to his left and lofted a shot over Brook Lopez to tie the score at 93 with eight-tenths of a second remaining.

The game’s sideshow featured the not-so-happy return of former Wizard Andray Blatche. The 6-foot-11 forward drew loud boos when he entered the game midway through the second quarter and loud cheers when he missed a layup and was called for traveling early in the third quarter.

Blatche, who played seven tumultuous seasons in Washington, finished the night 6-for-11 from the field for 13 points with 12 rebounds. 

Meanwhile, the two Wizards eating most of Blatche’s minutes this season, Jan Vesely and Kevin Seraphin, were a combined 2-for-11 for 9 points and four rebounds for the Wiz.

The Wizards held a 55-52 lead at the half – just their seventh halftime lead this season – thanks to the combined efforts of Nene [13 points on 6-for-7 shooting] and 13 off the bench for Crawford on 5-for-6 shooting.

The Wiz were deadly from all over the floor, hitting 57 percent from both 2- and 3-point range. The Wizards’ three-point halftime lead was trimmed to 79-78 by the end of the third quarter as Blatche led the Nets’ comeback with seven points.

Dribbles. The Wizards return to action Sunday night in Miami when face the Heat at 6 p.m. In their last meeting on Dec. 15, the Heat avenged a Dec. 4 upset by the Wizards by handing them their worst loss of the season, 102-72. … After playing 15 minutes in Wednesday night’s loss in Indiana, Wizards forward Chris Singleton did not play for the fifth time in seven games. … The Wizards’ 30-point first quarter tied a season high for an opening quarter [Dec. 4 vs. Miami].