The Washington Wizards are only two days removed from a relatively close loss to the Boston Celtics, but that is definitely not something to be proud of.
The game was an absolute blowout for the first three quarters of action and, while the box score showed Washington bounced back in the fourth quarter, the tone was the same. Boston was very much in control.
Even with his three-point shooting woes Isaiah Thomas (he shot 2-10 from beyond the arc) led the Celtics in this victory, posting 25 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 steals. He helped set the pace with 12 third quarter points, and this was his first game back following a bruised right knee that sidelined him for two games.
The Wizards were led in scoring by Bradley Beal, with 19 points, and assists by John Wall, with 8 dimes, but Washington had no answer off the boards. Getting out-rebounded 54-39. They also gave up 20 offensive rebounds to the Celtics, which is pretty terrible to say the least.
Wizards head coach Scott Brooks spoke on that stat:
“Yeah, a lot of things hurt us tonight, but that was glaring — 20 offensive rebounds. When you miss you got to make sure you rebound the basketball. That’s always the finishing part of the defense.”
You can read more about this game, right here.
Unfortunately, this has been the trend for the last five games for the Wizards, having lost four of five. Their record has now slipped to 42-28, and the team that was once within reaching distance of the top-seed in the East is only a half-game away from falling to the fourth seed behind the Toronto Raptors.
However, they have an opportunity to turn their current trend around on a national stage Wednesday night against the Atlanta Hawks.
This will be the final game in a four-game season series between the two -Washington is currently up 2-1- and could have a serious effect on the Eastern Conference Playoffs, with the Wizards fighting to get back into the race for a top-two seed and the Hawks desperate to hold onto the fifth seed they currently occupy.
Atlanta however, will be without their top player, star forward Paul Millsap. Who, along with Kent Bazemore is out due to a knee injury (Millsap has tightness in his left knee, while Bazemore sustained a bruise on his right knee Saturday night against the Portland Trail Blazers).
That could give Washington a huge advantage in this match-up, being as how the Hawks will be without two of their best defensive starters. It allows the Wizards to come out of the gates in an all-out sprint in an effort to run up the score.
According to ESPN Stats and Information, the Wizards currently lead the NBA with the most games this season in which all five of their starter have scored in double digits, with 25 (including their 112-86 win over Atlanta on January 27). They could very well make that number 26 tonight against a Hawks team without Bazemore and Millsap.
Tip-off is scheduled for 8:00 PM Eastern Standard Time, at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C., and it will be nationally televised on ESPN and the ESPN app.