Three quick notes previewing the Wizards-Bobcats game tonight at 7pm on CSN:
Fourth quarter woes:
All of the Wizards losses have come by 10 points or fewer and lack of fourth quarter production is a major reason why. Over five games the Wizards are shooting 41 percent from the field but that number drops to 36 percent in the fourth quarter. When you combine that poor shooting with 20-fourth quarter turnovers in their last four games and it’s easy to see why the Wizards have struggled closing out games.
Although the Wizards have added veterans in A.J. Price, Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza all those players have played secondary roles over the course of their careers. With injuries to John Wall and Nene the Wizards lack a go to player down the stretch. It remains to be seen if Bradley Beal or Jordan Crawford can fill that role until Wall and Nene get healthy?
Battle of top draft picks:
Charlotte’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was drafted one spot ahead of Beat at No. 2 overall. The former Kentucky Wildcat is coming off the best game of his young career with 25 points and 12 rebound in an overtime win against the Mavericks on Saturday. The Wizards considered drafting Kidd-Gilchrist this summer because of his intangibles and sheer will to win. He’s also been a defensive force with 11 blocks and eight steals through his first five games.
After opening the season shooting 2-of-13 from the field Beal has settled in as the Wizards most effective offensive threat. The 19-year-old is averaging 19 points over his last three games but more importantly he passes the eye test. Beal is visibly playing with a lot more confidence and has also shown a competitive streak.
Lack of bench production:
Kevin Seraphin got off to a great start this season averaging 17.5 points and 8 rebounds over his first two games. But over his last two he’s been ineffective averaging just 3 points and 2 rebounds. He’s averaged just 14 minutes over his past two games so if the Wizards can establish him early it will open things up for their perimeter players.
Jordan Crawford has been hampered by a sore ankle and hasn’t been able to log the 25-30 minutes per game he’s accustomed to. The Wizards have consistently gone through long scoring droughts and Crawford has never been accused of being shy offensively. Charlotte’s Ben Gordon is averaging 14.6 points as their sixth man and the Wizards will need Crawford’s scoring to offset Gordon’s impact.
The Wizards are one of only two winless teams, Detroit being the other, but they’ve defeated Charlotte in five straight games.