April 11, 2018 | Amway Center | Orlando, FL
The Washington Wizards went into their matchup with the Orlando Magic knowing that a lot was at stake. Washington simply had to play solid basketball and defeat a team that has only won 25 games this season. The outcome of the game had a major impact on what the post-season picture would look like for them. Nevertheless, this underachieving Wizards team could not get the job done and were defeated, 101-92, by the Magic. Washington finishes the season four games above .500 (43-39). They are last in the Eastern Conference standings and will play against the conference leading Toronto Raptors.
(Photo: Getty Images)
Offense Lacking Without John Wall and Otto Porter Jr.
The Wizards were without two of their starters as Wall (precaution) and Porter (right calf strain) sat out. Tomas Satoransky and Kelly Oubre Jr. replaced them off the bench. Washington needed offense, but the shots would not fall for this team. Collectively, the Wizards shot 34.7 percent from the field and 29.4 percent (10-for-34) from behind the arc. Oubre played a total of 27 minutes and contributed nine points on 3-for-10 shooting, while dealing with foul trouble. Bradley Beal also struggled with just 13 points on 4-for-15 shooting in 36 minutes. The All-Star needed just two three-pointers to become the first player in team history to have consecutive seasons with 200 three-pointers, but only managed 1-for-7 from deep. The Wizards offense was so bad that Rodney Purvis off the Magic’s bench had more points, 16, than any of the road starters for Washington.
Defense Was Equally Bad
Washington was outscored in every quarter by Orlando except in the third. The Wizards went into the fourth quarter trailing by one point, 76-75. With 9:01 remaining in regulation the Wizards took the lead, but they could not maintain it as the Magic ran away with the game with a late 16-5 run. Sure, Washington was without two of their best players, but they played a team that probably wanted to lose to increase their draft lottery chances. When it mattered most, this team could not come away with a victory against yet another bad team.
Different Day, Same Wizards
Washington had more points in the paint (42-26), grabbed more boards (50-42), committed fewer turnovers (16-12), and scored more fast break points (19-14) than Orlando and still managed to lose. This entire season, the Wizards have been scrutinized about their inconsistencies and playing down to their competition and rightfully so. Nevertheless, they owed it to their fanbase to end the season on a high-note leading into the playoffs. Yet, they could not do that.
This team has failed everyone: their coach, themselves, and their fans. This team was looked at as the team to beat at the start of the season. The Cavaliers were in disarray, and the Celtics dealt with injuries since opening day. Washington had continuity going into this season as well which built-up a lot expectation. Perhaps, that is where everyone went wrong. Nevertheless, this is the same lackadaisical team that they have been over the last few years.
To be fair, regardless of what happens during the regular season the postseason means a new beginning for all 16 teams. Yes, the Wizards have been unsatisfactory for much of the season; however, if they manage to be successful in the playoffs and somehow win the Eastern Conference, losses like Wednesday night will not matter. Washington will have a chance to be redeemed as they are playing against the Toronto Raptors. Now, this team must decide who they want to be. They had 82 regular season games to make up their minds and now time is close to running out. If the Wizards do not get it together against the number one seed in the Eastern Conference, they will be planning for the summer much sooner than later.