The Washington Wizards played without shooting guard Bradley Beal for two straight games and one without All-Star point guard John Wall.
Unfortunately, both games ended in defeat and each by 11 points.
LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Wizards, 105-94, on Friday, Nov. 11 before a sellout crowd at Verizon Center in Northwest. Early in the contest, James, who scored 27 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, became the youngest player in NBA history to score 27,000 career points.
The next night, the Wizards went on the road without Wall and lost 106-95 to the Chicago Bulls.
Despite being decimated by injuries, the Wizards (2-7) played both teams close in the first half. However, they lost control of both games in the third quarter and were outscored by a combined 56-33.
“Obviously, we are short-handed,” Wizards head coach Scott Brooks told Monumental Sports Network after the Bulls loss. “We got cold in the third quarter. When we get our entire roster back, it will help our bench.”
Wizards center Marcin Gortat expressed some frustration after Saturday’s defeat.
“We just got to be more professional in what we do,” said Gortat, who finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds. “At the end of the day, we have to have effort for everybody. There’s a lot of people that can step in and play great. It’s a tough loss. We can’t get comfortable with [losing]. It’s not fun.”
Wall didn’t play Saturday in Chicago, part of a minutes-management plan to keep him out of the second of some back-to-back games as he rehabs from offseason surgery on both knees.
The Bulls’ newest edition, All-Star guard Dwyane Wade, only scored 14 points and shot 5-17 from the floor. However, Jimmy Butler led all scorers with 37 points and made all 14 free throws.
The Wizards’ starting backcourt, rookies Tomas Santoransky and Sheldon McClellan, finished with 12 and 15 points, respectively.
Similar to the Cleveland game, the Wizards struggled in the third quarter being outscored 28-14.
The Wizards also only shot 4 for 13 behind the arc.
Against Cleveland, Wall took up the scoring load with Beal out, scoring 28 points, but had only three assists and six turnovers.
Wall’s counterpart Kyrie Irving scored a game-high 29 points with six assists. He and backcourt mate J.R. Smith scored eight and nine points, respectively, in the third quarter, in which the Wizards were outscored 26-19.
“We gave ourselves a chance. In the second quarter, we didn’t do a good job closing out that quarter with six minutes to go,” Wall said. “In the start of the third, we kind of missed some shots that we had. Those guys got out in transition and we didn’t get matched up and they made a lot of threes.”
True to form, the Cavaliers, which take the most threes in the NBA, shot 14-33 from deep. In contrast, the Wizards, which rank second-to-last in that category, had just 15 attempts Friday, making only three.
“There was many times tonight they had five three-point shooters on the floor,” Brooks said. “They made just about the same amount of three’s that we attempted, but that’s how they play.”
The Wizards next game will be on the road Wednesday, Nov. 16 against the Philadelphia 76ers. They return home Thursday, Nov. 17 to face Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks.