Wizards Let Another Game Slip Away
Bradley Beal scored 26 points and added 7 assists in a losing effort againts the Trailblazers. Robert Eubanks/DC Sports Box file photo
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Different day, same results. Playing on the road or at home, same outcome. It was déjà vu for the Wizards as they again inexplicably lost a game where they held a double-digit lead late. With John Wall on the court or with him watching from the sidelines, this team continues to struggle closing out games, and has lost four of their last five games.  

After holding a 17-point lead with 8:53 remaining, their largest lead of the game, the Wizards looked like they had ensured a victory. In fact, at this point in the game, their win probability was 99.1%.  It still wasn’t enough as the Trail Blazers kept chipping away. The Blazers used a 10-0 run over the final 2:30 of the game to put the game away, 108-105.

Late mental mistakes and poor shooting plagued the Wizards late in the game, as a flagrant foul on Markieff Morris started the Blazers’ 10-0. After Jusuf Nurkic hit 1-of-2 free throws, CJ McCollum scored seven straight points for the Blazers, hitting a 31-footer, a driving lay-up, and a fadeaway to put the Blazers ahead for good, 106-105.

The Wizards still had a shot, but Bradley Beal missed a 15-footer. The Wizards stopped the clock with a foul, allowing for one more possession. After Pat Connaughton made both shots from the line for the Blazers, Beal missed a game-tying three at the buzzer to end the contest.

Beal, who led the Wizards with 26 points and 7 assists, went ice cold from the field in the fourth, shooting 3-for-11, including four late misses during the Blazers 10-0 run. Otto Porter Jr. added 24 points for the Wizards and shot 60 percent from the field, but did get a shot opportunity during the final 2:30 of the game.

This was the second straight game where the Wizards let a late lead slip away. On the road against Charlotte, the Wizards were up five points with 1:36 left in the game, before the Hornets forced overtime and pulled out a victory. So far, this season, five of the Wizards eight losses have come after the team held a third-quarter lead.

"We're fighting, we're battling every game,” said Wizards Coach Scott Brooks.  “We just have to now finish out, close out games. These last two games we've had leads, you know seven points up less than a minute and a half, we need to win that game, both games. The only thing we can do is stay together and keep finding ways to help each other have success.”

Clutch CJ:

After being held to 13 points through three quarters, CJ McCollum overcame foul trouble to seal the victory for the Blazers. McCollum added 13 points in the fourth-quarter, including 7 straight during the Blazers comeback run. With 21 second left in the game, McCollum hit a 20-foot fadeaway over Otto Porter Jr. to give the Blazers a 106-105 lead.

"CJ got the ball and he did what he does. He is a pure scorer,” said Damian Lillard. “Sometimes great defense is not good enough. He hit another one and then we finished it up with a stop and some free throws."

McCollum, who missed a game-winner earlier this month against the Memphis Grizzlies, redeemed himself today.

“I hit big shots and I missed them sometimes and I can live with that. I put a lot of work in a lot of times and I mean look at the shot tonight, it was good defense, I just made the shot,” said McCollum. 

He added, “I have all the confidence in the world and I can live with missing shots and I can live with people saying that I am not clutch because I know who I am, so it does not faze me.”

Fill-in Frazier and Sidekick Sato:

With John Wall expected to be out for two weeks, Tim Frazier got the start and Tomas Satoransky backed him up. Frazier finished with a season-high 11 points and added 2 steals which led to 5 points. Satoransky added 4 points and 4 assists of the bench.

"I thought they competed and played hard. That's one thing both are going to do. They are going to play hard,” said Wizards Coach Scott Brooks. “They're not going to be mistake-free. I mean, everybody goes out there, you're going to make mistakes, but try to limit them as much as they can but I thought they played a solid basketball game”

Upcoming Games:

The Wizards are on the road against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday evening.

The Trail Blazers are on the road against the New York Knicks on Monday evening.
Written by Hirdesh Matta