Finding out before the game that they wouldn’t have Bradley Beal
because of a nagging right wrist injury certainly disrupted some of the chemistry and flow that the team had developed in recent weeks. Beal missed the morning shoot-around to visit a hand specialist in New York and discovered that his wrist was sprained.
And since he hadn’t packed a sport jacket, Beal had to watch an abysmal offensive performance — in which the Wizards scored 11 points in the second quarter, committed 18 turnovers and converted just 40 percent of their field goal attempts — from the locker room.
“Whenever you are missing key guys, you’re always affected. But I don’t really blame it on that,” Emeka Okafor said after recording his 11th double-double of the season with 15 points and a game-high 17 rebounds. “It just wasn’t us tonight. Just didn’t look right. I can’t really explain. It was like we were a step behind the whole game.”
Wall played a season-high 32 minutes but had easily his worst outing of the season as he only produced nine points on 3-for-12 shooting with six assists and five rebounds. He spent much of the night on the floor after crashing on drives and dives for loose balls. He also had a team-high five turnovers, punctuating his night when he tossed a cross-court pass high and out of the reach of Trevor Ariza with 26 seconds remaining.
“I just think we’re not doing a good job playing the way we’ve been playing,” Wall said. “We still taking the good shots that we’ve got and we’re not making them. Sometimes they fall, sometimes they’re not. We had a few too many turnovers forcing the issue, but we got a day off, with a practice to try to find our rhythm back.”
Nene had a team-high 16 points, Martell Webster scored 15, all in the second half, and Ariza scored 12 points off the bench for the Wizards (11-33), who actually appeared to lose their rhythm during a 96-94 loss against the Sacramento Kings on Monday, when they committed 20 turnovers and allowed Isaiah Thomas to make a game-winning runner with one second remaining. Wittman was disappointed to see the Wizards revert to some of their bad, pre-Wall habits in the loss to the Kings. Against the 76ers, the Wizards simply never found the energy to stay competitive — until it was much too late.
With Wall in the lineup, the Wizards’ first four losses were by a combined 14 points but they trailed 87-71 when Philadelphia all-star point guard Jrue Holiday made a driving layup with 6 minutes 29 seconds remaining. The Wizards went on a 13-2 run over the next five minutes and got within five points when Okafor caught a pass from Ariza and dunked. Holiday took over from there and scored the final three points of the game, including a tough jumper over Webster after getting separation with a wicked crossover dribble.