Final Score: Wizards 88 Bobcats 94 (OT)
The Wizards went down by 20, fought their way back into the game to force OT but in the end it was not enough, as Washington fell to Charlotte, 94-88.
The Wizards got hot in the second half. After trailing 54-41 at the break, they went on a 14-2 run to start the third quarter to make it 56-55. They could not get over the hump though, trading buckets with the Bobcats for the the majority of the second half.
The Wizards finally took their first lead of the night with 5:28 left in the fourth quarter, as a jumper by Bradley Beal made it 78-77.
Down 85-83 with a minute left, Wall tied up the game on a jumper off a screen from Gortat. The Wizards made a stop on the other end, and then Gortat made a nice move to score with nine seconds left. Al Jefferson countered inside to tie the game up at 87, Wall missed a jumper at the buzzer, and the game headed to overtime. The Wizards offense went ice cold in OT, not mustering a field goal for the entire extra session and they fell by six.
John Wall posted his second triple-double of the season and third of his career with 14 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists. Marcin Gortat played fantastic as well, making 13 of 18 field goals for 27 points to go along with 14 rebounds, for his 34th double-double of the season. Nene played in his first game since February 23rd, and scored 10 points in 17 minutes off the bench.
Al Jefferson led the Bobcats with 20 points and 18 rebounds.
Washington falls into a tie for sixth in the standings with Charlotte at 40-38. The Bobcats hold the tiebreaker, as they won the season series three games to one.
The Wiz will head to Orlando for their next game on Friday. Tipoff against the Magic at the Amway Center is set for 7:00. - Jack Persons
Against a Southeast Division rival, with playoff seeding on the line, the Washington Wizards have been outplayed so far tonight, as they trail the Charlotte Bobcats 54-41 at the half.
Trevor Booker scored 12 points to lead the Wizards, and Marcin Gortat added eight points with seven rebounds.
Nene returned from injury tonight and scored four points in eight minutes off the bench.
The Wizards started off cold in the first quarter and it continued well into the second, as they allowed Charlotte to shoot 13-22 from the field and 3-4 from deep in the first quarter. The Bobcats led by as many as 20 in the middle of the second before Washington went on an 11-2 run at the end of the half to cut the deficit to 52-41.
John Wall needs to be the player who sparks the Wizards in the second half. The All-Star was held to only five points in the first half on 2-8 shooting from the field, but posted five rebounds and four assists. The team desperately needs a catalyst if they are to keep their sixth seed over the Bobcats, and Wall will be the one to do it if he finds his stroke in the last 24 minutes of this game. - Jack Persons
It's now official. Nene will return tonight and although Witt would not give away his hand on if he'll start, it sounds like he'll come off the bench, as Witt did say his minutes would be limited. In the past, when a player has been on a minutes restriction he often times comes off the bench, so that would be my best guess. But, we'll see when lineups are posted shortly.
Obviously adding one of your best players to the lineup is always a nice, but Nene's presence does more to the Wizards offense than simply adding 13 points and 6 boards to the offense. The team runs so much of it's offense through Nene on the post and it opens up the entire playbook. His passing skills from the low block allow the team to use him as a playmaker, so look for that tonight as he plays for the first time since February 23rd.
Trevor Ariza is also a go tonight. He's been battling the flu but has not missed any games because of it.
More from Witt on tonight's game and the keys to beating the Bobcats:
You can read about why this game means so much on the
playoff scenario blog
or see the breakdown below.
We're live chatting from Verizon Center tonight at 7. Stakes are high, let's see how the Wiz respond!
And happy Cherry Blossom season!
We've reached the final week of the regular season and we've got five games left on the schedule. The good news is we know we're in the playoffs. However, what seed we end up with and who we play is still up in the air and likely will be right until the end.
A lot has already been written about how important this game is tonight and what it means, but we'll go over it once more just to hammer down the significance.
If the Wizards win, they are in great position to finish with at least the six seed in the East. They would have a two game lead over Charlotte and would hold the tie-breaker. With just four games after tonight including games against the Magic, Bucks, and Celtics, the Wiz would nearly be solidified at least the six seed entering the playoffs.
If the Bobcats win, the race is on. The Bobcats would jump the Wizards in the standings as the two teams would be tied at 40-38 and the Cats would hold the tie-breaker. The six seed would be completely up for grabs with four games left and the Cats finish with two home games against the 76ers and Bulls and have road games against the Celtics and Hawks.
So, expect the intensity of tonight's game to be that of a playoff game. Which is probably a good thing for this Wizards team as they get ready for their first playoff run as a unit.
They are all well aware for what's at stake tonight:
Normally, the lead story heading into this one would have been Nene's return to the floor, which is expected tonight after he's missed six weeks with a knee strain. Nene hasn't played since February 23rd in Cleveland, but should be coming off the bench for at least limited minutes tonight. The team has found a way to win without him, but having his presence back in the lineup opens things up for everyone, as they love running sets through him on the post. His ability to be a passer and a playmaker gives the team so many more options on offense and should be a big boost to the second unit tonight. There's no word as to how many minutes he'll play or what to expect of him, but just having him available will be big for the Wiz.
Wittman on How He Plans to Use Nene
We'll check back in pregame to see if anything changes or if there are any announcements on Nene's status or Trevor Ariza's health as he's been battling the flu the last couple of days.
Remember to watch the
American Express Home Court Advantage Show
at 6:30 on Monumental Network!