Rally too lit­tle, too late af­ter an­other cold start

Baltimore Sun - - WORLD SERIES - By Can­dace Buck­ner

MEM­PHIS — Some habits just won’t go away.

The Wash­ing­ton Wiz­ards have a knack of slowly com­ing out of the gates to start the NBA sea­son. Now, even with a new coach and eight new play­ers, they are fol­low­ing that fa­mil­iar re­frain.

In their sea­son opener, the Wiz­ards flat­lined in the fourth quar­ter, the way they had through last year. On Sun­day night against the Mem­phis Griz­zlies, how­ever, Wash­ing­ton made it in­ter­est­ing: climb­ing back from an early dou­ble-digit deficit, show­ing life in the fourth quar­ter be­fore giv­ing up a game-ty­ing 3-poin­ter and wilt­ing in the ex­tra pe­riod.

The games looked dif­fer­ent, but the trend con­tin­ued as Wash­ing­ton fell, 112-103, in over­time and matched an 0-2 start from the 2013-14 sea­son.

Though Wash­ing­ton’s starters each fin­ished in dou­ble fig­ures (John Wall with 22 points and 13 as­sists and Marcin Gor­tat with 14 points and 12 re­bounds), for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive game, that unit spent the clos­ing mo­ments on the bench.

Griz­zlies starters Tony Allen and Chan­dler Par­sons as well as a ro­ta­tional big, Bran­dan Wright, are out with in­juries. Mem­phis has filled those va­can­cies with for­mer De­vel­op­ment League player JaMy­chal Green and 2015 draft pick Jarell Martin in the start­ing lineup. Rookie Wade Bald­win IV and an­other player in his sec­ond sea­son, An­drew Har­ri­son, come off the bench.

Even more, the Griz­zlies played Sun­day on the sec­ond night of a back-to­back. The Wiz­ards were not just get­ting a skele­ton Home opener crew as an op­po­nent, but one that should have been fa­tigued. But none of that mat­tered as Wash­ing­ton opened the game.

In light of the loss in Atlanta, coach Scott Brooks has preached of­fen­sive spac­ing. But in the first quar­ter against the Griz­zlies, spac­ing wasn’t the prob­lem: The Wiz­ards shot 2 of13 for15.3 per­cent.

Though Wash­ing­ton’s shoot­ing per­cent­age stayed in the freezer, their tem­pers did not. Af­ter Marki­eff Mor­ris picked up a sec­ond foul at the 8:34 mark, he snapped at an of­fi­cial and re­ceived a tech­ni­cal foul. Mor­ris had to be ush­ered off the floor by as­sis­tant Chad Iske, then tossed his mouth­piece to­wards the scor­ers’ table, hit­ting a Wiz­ards’ pub­lic re­la­tions em­ployee in the chest.

The emo­tions con­tin­ued to boil over in the sec­ond quar­ter when Wall com­plained about a lack of a foul call and picked up an­other tech­ni­cal foul.

Wash­ing­ton had an 8point lead in the fourth quar­ter, but the Griz­zlies pulled within 98-97 with 24 sec­onds left. Though Marc Ga­sol fouled Wall to send him to the line for two free throws, he made up for the mis­take by nail­ing the game-ty­ing 3 in the clos­ing sec­onds.

In over­time, Mem­phis scored 12 straight, in­clud­ing an­other 3-poin­ter by Ga­sol, who fin­ished with 20 points.

Bradley Beal had 14 points and Otto Porter Jr. added 13 for the Wiz­ards.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.