The new-look Washington Wizards played their first seeding game on Friday, and unfortunately for them, a lot of things were the same. Washington(24-41) was able to score, but they had a hard time stopping the Phoenix Suns(27-39), and they would fall 125-112.
Phoenix was led by Devin Booker’s 27 points and Deandre Ayton, who scored 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Phoenix was able to score with ease against Washington’s defense and scored 38 points in the first quarter and 36 points in the fourth quarter. According to Wizards head coach Scott Brooks, the Wizards played nervous in that first quarter.
“That first quarter we gave up backdoors, offensive rebounds, blow byes,” Brooks said after the game. “It looked like we were a little nervous. It surprises me. We have not played that way yet. I thought we regrouped and played much better in that second half.”
Rui Hachimura added: “Our defense was kind of weak. We gave them easy baskets.”
Without Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans, Washington has little margin for error. They need everybody to do their part if they want to be successful, and that includes Hachimura, who led the team with 21 points but was out of rhythm after picking up two quick fouls in the first quarter. Jerome Robinson added 20 points off the bench for Washington, including 4-6 from downtown.
Washington is a very young team, so what we saw against the Suns should not be surprising. However, they have to do a better job of defending.
Fortunately for the Wizards, they get right back at it on Sunday against the Brooklyn Nets(lost to Magic on Friday), which is the most winnable game on their schedule and the team they’re chasing for the playoffs. If the Wizards want to make the playoffs, they have to beat the eighth-seeded Nets. Currently, Brooklyn has a six-game lead on the Wizards, and Washington must trail the eighth-seeded team by four games or less to force a play-in game.
Friday’s contest was a disappointment for Washington, but they still have time to make it right, and it starts with Brooklyn on Sunday.