Wizards are unable to overcome early deficit amd fall to the Pacers 111-110, and 0-3 in the bubble. If you were not able to watch the game live, you can catch all the highlights below.
If you are upset with the Wizards performance through the first three games, you’re not alone. But let’s take a step back and remember the Wizards are without John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Davis Bertans. Orlando is going to be about growing and developing the young core players for the Wizards.
The silver lining for this team is the emergence of both Troy Brown Jr. and Thomas Bryant. Both young men followed up their double-double games from yesterday with another great performance this afternoon. Bryant managed back to back double-doubles with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Troy Brown Jr. helped run the offense and finished with just 10 points, but had 8 assists, and 7 boards.
The Wizards were an eight-point underdog entering this afternoon’s game
Coach Scott Brooks made an adjustment to the starting line-up and replaced Shabazz Napier with Ish Smith at point guard. Ish Smith has played well in the first two bubble games and earned this nod. However, Napier responded to being benched with a strong statement. He put up 16 points and was aggressive all afternoon. The coaching staff now has to decide who to start at point guard going forward, but Napier looked much more comfortable in the backup role. I expect Napier to continue to come off the bench in Orlando as he thrived in this role today.
Although Napier was looking for and hitting his shots early, it wasn’t enough, as the Pacers controlled the game for a majority of the afternoon. Led by TJ Warren’s 34 points, the Pacers were too much to handle for the Wizards. This was a missed opportunity for the Wizards looking to get a win in Orlando as the Pacers were depleted. They were missing several key players. Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis, and Jeremy Lamb were all inactive.
Wizards did not show signs of quit
There is not much to be said about this game. Hopefully, the players and coaching staff can learn from this loss and move on quickly. It is worth noting the young Wizards team certainly did not quit. A great sign of things to come for a young team.
Trapping the Pacers on defense and running a press late in the game helped the Wizards fight back and bring the deficit to just 7 with one minute in the game. Using the press the Wizards were able to double team Malcolm Brogdon and force him to the sideline. There was an instant of hope that maybe the Wizards had stolen momentum and could force a comeback. However, the veteran Pacers called timeout and were able to outlast the Wizard’s efforts.
Looking ahead for the Wizards
The Wizard’s next game is against The Process and the Philadelphia 76ers. The game is set for Wednesday, August 5th at 4 PM. Philly, at the time of writing, has a 39-27 record and will be a handful for the Wizards. The 76ers are a certified perennial playoff team and will be a good test to see how the young players for Brooks and staff hold up against some of the game’s best.