23 Consecutive losses on the road for the Wizards after a 107-93 defeat at Memphis. The streak is the third longest to start a season in NBA history.
A night after OT loss, Washington struggles to keep up with Memphis
memphis — Trevor Booker grabbed a rebound and made a outlet pass to Al Thornton near the sideline. Thornton watched the ball bounce toward him, but was slow to react, and when he finally reached out for it, he knocked it out bounds, leading to a turnover. Thornton grabbed the ball and slammed it to floor, picked it up, palmed it and slammed it again.
The frustration has been palpable on the road all season for the Washington Wizards, who cannot complete many tasks properly — simple or otherwise — away from Verizon Center. And for another night, their faces were filled with frowns and angry glares, their heads shaking, flustered, because they simply cannot win on the road. The Memphis Grizzlies handed a 23rd consecutive road loss to the Wizards, who now own the record for the third-worst road start in NBA history with a 107-93 loss.
Rookie JohnWall led six players in double figures with 14 points and added eight assists, but Washington (13-33) has started this four-game road trip with two losses, as it continues to lose more players. Center JaVale McGee didn’t travel with the team, as he was back home with the flu and they also lost starting guard Nick Young to an injured calf in the fourth quarter. By then, the game had already been decided.
After an emotional, lively showing in Oklahoma City, where the Wizards pushed the Thunder into double overtime before succumbing to a Kevin Durant onslaught, the prevailing question was whether they would have anything left for a younger but more physical team the next night. The Grizzlies (24-24) can get out on the run, with a speedy point guard in Mike Conley and a high flyer in Baltimore native Rudy Gay, but they do a lot of their damage inside with the big man tandem of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol.
Washington was able to make up for McGee’s absence against the Thunder, which doesn’t have as strong an interior presence. And though the undersized Booker is one of the team’s most tenacious defenders, the Grizzlies exploited their advantage.
As expected, the Grizzlies repeatedly pounded the Wizards inside, as they scored an incredible 68 points inside the paint. Randolph had 24 points and 20 rebounds, and Gasol added 14 points and eight rebounds. But the Grizzlies also got surprise production from reserve Darrell Arthur, who scored a career-high 22 points. Reserve Tony Allen also provided a spark, with his contagious energy on defense and by scoring 15 points. Their production helped compensate for a off night by Gay, who finished with just four points on 2-of-11 shooting.
The Wizards welcomed back Kirk Hinrich after he hyperextended his right elbow making a pass to Kevin Seraphin eight days before. Hinrich had missed the past four games, with Mustafa Shakur filling in as backup to Wall. But Shakur, who is playing on a 10-day contract, was forced to sit out after injuring his right ankle and knee against the Thunder.
Hinrich had nine points and three assists in his return.
The Wizards kept hanging around, but it never felt like they could seriously challenge the Grizzlies, who were coming off an impressive win the night before in Philadelphia, where they came back from a 16-point fourth quarter deficit to outscore the 76ers 42-21 in the final period. The Grizzlies built double-digit leads and the Wizards would trim them, but could never get close enough.
Andray Blatche made a short jumper that brought the Wizards within 69-63 with 5 minutes 19 seconds remaining, but the Gasol tipped in a missed layup by Randolph to trigger a run of 13 unanswered points for the Grizzlies. Former Maryland point guard Greivis Vasquez made two free throws to put the Grizzlies up by 19 points, before Blatche ended a nearly four-minute scoring drought with a layup that brought his team within 82-75. But the Grizzlies extended the lead to 21, when Gasol made a long jumper with 16.5 seconds left in the third period.
The situation didn’t get better for the Wizards when Young was forced to leave the game after taking a knee to his right calf. Booker finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds in his second consecutive start. Thornton and Cartier Martin each had 12 for the Wizards, who will have a day off before making another attempt at a road win in Dallas onMonday.
Andray Blatche and the Wizards’ front court were exploited all game as the Grizzlies tallied an incredible 68 points in the paint Saturday.