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The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

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February 19, 2024

Wizards Weekly: Week 4 & 5 (11/16-11/29)

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Washington’s fourth and fifth weeks of NBA action are complete. Across seven games, the Wizards finished with a woeful 1–6 record, bringing their total across the season to 3–15.

The Wizards’ season can be summarized in just a few words from Kyle Kuzma per The Athletic: “We can’t guard a stop sign.” Washington’s fourth and fifth weeks of NBA action are complete. Across seven games, the Wizards finished with a woeful 16 record, bringing their total across the season to 3–15. Washington has one of the worst records in the NBA by far, having a season point differential of -7.8 — the fifth-worst in the league. Here’s what happened in the last two weeks in Wizards basketball:

 

Knicks

Washington’s first game of week four was their penultimate in-season tournament match-up on Nov. 17 against the New York Knicks (10–7). Washington was utterly outmatched through the entire contest, never holding the lead. The defense couldn’t contain the likes of Jalen Brunson, Julius Randle and Immanuel Quickley, who all put up at least 20 points in the contest. Kuzma was again Washington’s leading scorer, though he only put up 19 points on 8/21 shooting in the Wizards’ 12099 defeat. Washington was out-rebounded 4832 across the game, which led to the Knicks winning the second chance point battle 179.

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Bucks

The Wizard’s second game of the week on Nov. 20 was their first of two against the Milwaukee Bucks (13–5) across weeks four and five. Washington was again inferior to its opponent, suffering a 142129 loss. The team only held the lead twice throughout the game and led by as much as eight points early in the first quarter. The Wizards’ defense had no answer for Giannis Anteokounmpo, who scored 42 points while shooting an incredibly efficient 20/23 from the field with 13 rebounds and eight assists. Jordan Poole had Washington’s best performance of the game and his season best, scoring 30 points on 11/26 shooting. 

The Wizard’s biggest fault of the game was again their lack of rebounding, as they were out-rebounded an astonishing 5526 and lost the second chance points battle 279. Washington only recorded 18 points on the 13 turnovers the Bucks gave up, failing to take adequate advantage of those opportunities.

 

Hornets

The third game for Washington was a much more favorable match-up against the Charlotte Hornets (5–11), whom the Wizards have already played twice this season leading up to the Nov. 22 contest. Washington had control for most of the game until they blew another lead in the final quarter, resulting in a 117114 loss, marking seven defeats in a row for Washington. According to ESPN, in the third quarter, the Wizards had a 97.1% chance of victory with just 2 minutes remaining. Washington held a slim lead until 5:17 left in the fourth quarter but unfortunately couldn’t close out the game. 

In what is becoming a regular pattern for Washington, Kuzma was the leading scorer with 28 points while shooting 12/22 from the field. Poole also put in a solid effort with 24 points of his own but had lackluster efficiency, shooting 8/21. Lamelo Ball and Miles Bridges were Charlotte’s leading contributors to their comeback victory, with 34 and 33 points respectively. Regarding team stats, the Wizards and Hornets played very even games, as neither team dominated in a single category.

Bucks

Washington’s second of three games against the Bucks this season and their final in-season tournament game came on Nov. 24 as they again lost, but by a smaller margin, 131–128. The Wizards finished a lackluster 0–4 during in-season tournament play with a -38 points differential and failed to qualify for the knockout rounds. 

Washington held throughout the game, considering the 19 lead changes across all four quarters, compared to just three in their last match-up against Milwaukee. Four Wizards eclipsed 20 points in the contest, including Poole, Kuzma, Corey Kispert and Tyus Jones— with Poole leading that group with 26 points. Milwaukee also had a group of high scorers: Brook Lopez, Damian Lillard and Antetokounmpo all surpassed 30 points for the Bucks, with Lopez being the highest scorer at 39 points. For the second game in a row, Washington kept the overall team stats close and had a better three-point percentage than the Bucks, shooting 40.5% compared to the Bucks 29%.

 

Hawks

The Wizard’s second game of the season against the Atlanta Hawks (8–9) on Nov. 25 is an early candidate for the team’s worst performance of the season. In a blowout 136–108 loss — one in which Washington never held the lead — the Wizards turned the ball over 20 times compared to the Hawks’ 10. Washington also shot poorly from the three-point line, shooting only 26.3% compared to the Hawks’ 48.6%. Not a single Wizards player reached 15 points; Washington’s lead scorer was Jared Butler, with 13 points. On the other side, Trae Young and De’Andre Hunter scored at least 20 points in the Hawk’s victory, with the latter scoring a game-leading 26 points.

 

Pistons

Washington’s lone win of the week against the equally struggling Detroit Pistons (2–16) on Nov. 27 ended their nine-game losing streak. For the first time since their Nov. 8 win against the Hornets during week two, the Wizards took control of a game early on and kept up the momentum to close out the game. After claiming the lead in the middle of the first quarter, Washington never surrendered and secured a 126–107 win. Kuzma returned to his usual self after a disappointing performance against the Hawks, leading the Wizards in scoring with 32 points with 10/23 shooting. Danilo Gallinari and Deni Avdija were also the main contributors to the victory, scoring 16 points accompanied by shooting percentages in the 60% range. Washington’s efficient shooting was the key to their triumph as they shot over 50% from the field as a team compared to 42% for the Pistons.

 

Magic

Washington’s final game of week five came against the streaking Orlando Magic (13–5) — coming from a seven-game win streak — on Nov. 29. Washington had the lead up until the middle of the first quarter and never regained possession of the point advantage in their 139–120 defeat. Kuzma continued his run of superiority over his teammates in scoring as he again led the team with 23 points on an inefficient 9/20 from the field. Avdija was close behind with 22 points of his own on a much more efficient shooting split of 9/12. Franz Wagner was the player causing the most problems for Washington’s defense, scoring a game-high 31 points while shooting a very efficient 11/14. The Wizards were again out-rebounded in the contest 54–37. They also couldn’t keep up with the Magics’ efficient shooting as they only shot 47.1% compared to the Magics’ 60.7%

 

Week Six Preview

The sixth week of Wizards basketball begins with another road match-up against the red-hot Magic. Washington then ends their road trip with a contest against Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey, and the Philidelphia 76ers, who beat the Wizards 146–128 in their last meeting during week two. Washington, yet again, faces another tough week against two opponents in Playoff or Play-In contention.

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William English, Sports Writer
Grade 12 Why did you join the Black and White? Because Sports Journalism is my passion What is your favorite song of all time? Rich Spirit - Kendrick Lamar

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