Gone in 60 seconds: Wizards falter late

Gone in 60 seconds: Wizards falter late
March 7, 2013, 1:45 pm
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Highlights: Wizards fall on the road to Timberwolves

In losing three of their last four games, the Wizards have reverted to a familiar pattern of fraying down the stretch. 

At the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, the Wizards trailed 83-80 with 2:26 left. They finished 1-for-5 shooting and a turnover.

In a home game with the New York Knicks last week, the Wizards trailed 89-87 with 3:21 left. They were outscored 7-1 to end the game, shot 0-for-4 and had a turnover.

The Wizards (19-40) have had 26 games in which they trailed or led by three points or less with two minutes left, according to advanced statistics from NBA.com. Out of 30 NBA teams going into Thursday’s games, they are just 26th in field goal accuracy at 32.2% (29 of 90), including 22.2% from three-point range (6-for-27).

Those problems are compounded by their performance at the foul line, too. The Wizards are 34-for-53, or 64.2%, which is a sharp decline for a team that shoots near 74% overall for the season.

"It's an ever-so-slight thing at this level that can change your psyche, change your confidence, change your feeling of yourself," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said about his point guard, John Wall, after he scored the game-winning baskets in the clutch of a 90-87 win vs. the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday. "That's what I keep preaching to these guys. You never know when that play is going to happen."

Such success is happening rarely for Washington. In the loss to Minnesota, the Wizards had a season-high 24 turnovers. Wall and Nene were responsible for 13 of those.

The Wizards have 17 turnovers in the final two minutes of games in which they lead or trail by three points or less. Only the Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks have more in that situation. The Charlotte Bobcats (13-48) also have 17.

When the game gets down to the final one minute of a game in which the Wizards trail or lead by three points or less, 13 of those turnovers are committed. That makes them the worst team in the NBA in the last 60 seconds. The Mavericks and Hawks are the only other teams in double figures with turnovers in that situation.

The Wizards don't have much time to work out the kinks. They didn't practice Thursday and instead did film study. They have a back-to-back coming up with a game Friday at the Brooklyn Nets (CSN, 7:30 p.m ET) and Saturday at home vs. the Charlotte Bobcats (CSN, 8).