If the Washington Wizards beat the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday afternoon from Orlando, they would have only needed to make up one game in six to force play-in game(s). Instead, Washington lost a fourth-quarter lead to all but guarantee their 2019-20 season will end on August 13 following their eighth seeding game, against the Boston Celtics. The Wizards defense allowed 37 free throw attempts, uncontested three-point shots from sharpshooter Joe Harris, and 35 points in the fourth quarter. On the other hand, the Nets held Rui Hachimura to 9 points on 2-for-6 shooting in 32 minutes.
Before the game, Scott Brooks expressed to the media over Zoom that he wanted to see more from Thomas Bryant and Troy Brown Jr. The two brothers from another as Bryant described, showed up. It just wasn’t quite enough. As Brooks explained post-game, now it is about putting together these strong performances consistently.
Bryant had a team-high 30 points, one shy of his career-high, and 13 rebounds. The still-developing center is still a work in progress on defense as Jarrett Allen had 22 points on 10 shots and 15 rebounds, but you cannot fault his effort. Bryant had 4 of Washington’s mere 9 three-pointers as the team dearly misses the 7 three-pointers a game they typically get from Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans.
Brown had another stat-sheet filling line with 22 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 assists in a team-high 38 minutes. It is clear that the Oregon product is more comfortable with the ball more often in his hands. Throughout the season, Brown has played better off the bench instead of starting across from Beal. With thoughts of Rui Hachimura being able to play the 3, which is not the biggest thing in the world of positionless basketball, it solidifies the possibility of Brown sharing ball-handling duties with Ish Smith off the bench in 2020-21. Brown said he has good chemistry with Smith and that will mean a lot of assists for the team’s second unit next season.
Making up three games in six is next to impossible for this Wizards roster, but their remaining six seeding games allow them to continue development that they are lucky to have. Washington will “host” the Indiana Pacers at 4 pm on Monday, the second leg of a back-to-back.