John Wall chase down block of Tayshaun Prince
The size of the Memphis Grizzlies, difficult to deal with for the Wizards even when at full strength, is too much to overcome when depleted. The Wizards were pounded on the boards, on scoring in the paint and even in transition by perhaps the slowest team in the NBA at Verizon Center.
All five starters for Washington scored in double figures with John Wall leading with 23 on 8-for-16 shooting. Wall also had nine assists and six rebounds. Bradley Beal missed six of his first seven shots but went 6-for-8 after that to finish with 21 points. Marcin Gortat had 16 points and eight rebounds and Trevor Ariza and Trevor Booker each had 15 points and seven rebounds. Gortat's streak of seven consecutive games with a double-double ended.
The Wizards (31-29) lost sixth man Martell Webster (sore back) before the game and already were playing minus two bigs, Nene (left knee) and Kevin Seraphin (right knee), against the Girzzlies' monstrous frontline.
Memphis (34-25) clicked everywhere with Tayshaun Prince scoring a season-high 21 points on 8-for-11 shooting, including making 2 of 3 three-pointers. Zach Randolph had 16 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, Mike Conley 20 points and seven assists and Marc Gasol 10 points, seven rebounds and eight assists.
Down 91-70 after a layup by Nick Calathes with 7:53 left in game, the Wizards made a push. After Wall's two free throws cut the deficit to 99-89, he made consecutive three-pointers and Otto Porter followed up with one as well. The score was 102-98 with 1:17, but Conley made four consecutive foul shots as Memphis was able to seal it and win the season series 2-0.
Turning point: The Wizards tied the score at 62 on a jumper from Beal, but the Grizzlies closed the third quarter on a 17-2 run sparked by three-point plays from Randolph and Tony Allen for a 79-64 lead entering the fourth.
Key stats: The Grizzlies are 17-6 since Gasol returned from a knee injury. ... Their bench outscored the Wizards' 34-14, had more points in the paint 62-34 and even had the edge in fast-break points 20-15. ... The Wizards scored a season-high 40 points in the fourth.
Big step: Porter entered late in the second quarter to play just 46 seconds. He would've entered sooner for Beal, but there wasn't stoppage in the action to allow him to check in. Porter re-entered the game with 15 seconds left in the third. He started the fourth and made the first three-pointer of his career, after 10 misses, on a desperation attempt after collecting a loose ball. He played in crunch time to aid the Wizards in their comeback, making 2 of 4 shots in 11 total minutes.
From the locker room: "We had too many lapses. Offensively, we did have really good pace to the game and good flow. It happened a couple stretches there in the first half, too, where we kind of lost our (composure), put our heads down a little bit, missing shots. First time in a long time doing that and I told them coming in at half I was pretty happy. We didn't play very well offensively in the first half and I think we were down five." -- Wizards coach Randy Wittman
"We battled. We didn't make shots today. We missed bunnies. I believe that if we had at least one injured player we would be better." -- Gortat
"They made a lot of shots. On defense they defended our concepts pretty well. ... Sometimes they were showing like they were going to trap and they kind of froze me a little bit and wanted me to make a decision whether to hit the big or keep my dribble but they definitely changed and it's just something I have to get used to." -- Beal
"They come back, they hit a three, Mike Miller hits a three, another minute later, Tayshaun Prince steps up and dings one. So if his coach would have played him more, he would have had more than 21 points." -- Grizzlies coach David Joerger
Around the bend: The Wizards will practice Tuesday afternoon at Verizon Center and have shootaround Wednesday morning before facing the Utah Jazz (CSN, 7 p.m. ET).