Hanrahan: Wizards can't close

Hanrahan: Wizards can't close
December 28, 2010, 4:19 pm
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Tuesday December 28, 2010 10:45 p.m.

By Frank Hanrahan

You could read coach Flip Saunders' lips late in the fourth quarter as his Wizards let a double digit lead slip away and eventually lost Monday night at Houston 100-93. "We fall apart man," Saunders mouthed as the Rockets took over down the stretch with a 15-4 run and some big three pointers to prevent the Wizards from getting their first road win of the season, giving the team a staggering 0-15 record away from D.C. and a 7-22 mark overall.

The Wizards had a golden opportunity to get a win and they squandered it yet again. Up 93-92 with 3:31 left in the game, the Wizards went scoreless the rest of the way as the team has now lost 10 of 11 games.

While Houston was executing on the offensive end when they needed to, the Wizards could get nothing to go in those final few minutes with two key turnovers and shoddy shot selection. Its frustrating to come so close but not be able to close, said Wizards head coach Flip Saunders. At those critical moments its like we try to do too much or take shots too fast instead of trusting the offense like we did all night.

In my opinion, there is no bright side in NBA losses, no patting yourself on the back for effort, because that should be a given, but it was good to see John Wall having more pep in his step in his second game back from a knee injury. The Wizards' rookie guard scored 13 points dishing 6 assists and grabbing 5 rebounds in 27 minutes of action but was frustrated by the way the game ended.

"We have to close out games," Wall said. "We were right there in it, but like Coach said, when they're making the run and coming back, we're always trying to go for the home run instead of just chipping away at time," Wall said.

The Wizards are back in D.C. prepping to face Indiana (13-15) as part of a home-and-home series, with the Wiz hosting the Pacers Wednesday night and then at Indiana Friday. The Wizards will try to stay positive despite the string of losing that for whatever reason they cannot shake off.

"It's frustrating. We have to keep this group together and get better as a team," Saunders said.