Wizards drop to 3-23 with loss to Cavs

Wizards drop to 3-23 with loss to Cavs
December 26, 2012, 9:30 pm
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Highlights from the Wizards narrow loss to Cleveland

A few days ago, Garrett Temple was playing in the D-League.

On Wednesday night the 26-year-old guard was on the court for the Wizards with the game on the line and the ball in his hands.

It didn’t work out very well.

With the Wizards trailing by one point with 1:15 to play, Temple fired an errant pass into the stands. On the Cavaliers’ next two possessions he committed fouls. And with a chance to tie with 9.5 seconds remaining in the Wizards’ 87-84 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, he missed an open 3-point attempt.

“Coach Witt [Randy Wittman] had the confidence to have me in the game at the end,” Temple said of his Wizards debut. “Jordan [Crawford] kicked it out, it felt good, I thought it was going in, and it had a tough roll.” 

The ball rolled off the rim and the Wizards were forced to swallow yet another loss in an excruciating season. The defeat, which came in front of 13,846 fans at Verizon Center, was the Wizards’ eighth straight and dropped their record to an NBA-worst 3-23. The Cavs, led by Kyrie Irving’s 26 points, improved to 7-23.

“We turned the ball over at crucial times,” Wittman said, “and then we won’t commit, all of us, to playing defense.” 

The story of the night for the Wizards was not who was on the court at the end of the game, but who wasn’t. While Temple played 9:06 of the final quarter, prized rookie Bradley Beal sat out the entire fourth quarter and finished with two points in 21 minutes.

Beal went 0-for-5 from the field and 2-for-2 from the line.

“He’s got to figure out ways to score if his jump shot’s not falling,” Wittman said. “Get to the free throw line, be more aggressive. That’s what I’d like to see.”

Asked if Beal can learn from watching from the bench in the fourth quarter, Wittman replied, “We’re going to find out.”

Beal took the high road when asked about his benching.

“He’s right,” he said. “I told myself that, too, to start going to the basket more, but then I didn’t end up going back in.

“…You want to be out there but you’re not out there. You get upset by it, but if that group is doing well you can’t get mad at it. It’s winning time, as coach always says. Down the stretch, that’s when everybody has to be in it together.”

After getting benched to start the game for reportedly showing up late for a shoot-around, Wizards guard Jordan Crawford managed 17 points, matching Emeka Okafor’s team-high.

Crawford was not in the Wizards dressing room when media arrived after the game. 

Playing his first game since re-signing with the Wizards on Christmas day,  Shelvin Mack finished with six points, seven assists and six rebounds in his season debut.

Mack didn’t record a point in the first half but dished out a team-high five assists, including an alley-oop pass to Martell Webster for a slam dunk as the Wiz ran out to a 22-10 lead, their first lead of any kind in three games.

The Cavs battled back to take a 45-43 lead at the half, holding the Wizards’ starting backcourt of Mack and Beal to two points on 0-for-9 shooting from the field.

The Wizards trailed at the half despite shooting 49 percent from the field, led by Nene and Okafor’s 10 points each, and the Cavs shooting 35 percent.

Irving was lights-out in the first half for the Cavs with 20 points on 7-for-13 shooting and 3-from-3 from the line. But the Wizards found a way to hold the 2012 NBA Rookie of the Year to just two points in the third quarter, which ended in a 68-68 tie.

Dribbles. After getting benched for seven of the previous nine games Wizards forward Jan Vesely has played 20 or more minutes in each of the last three games but netted just two points against the Cavs and has just 14 points combined in those three games. … Cavaliers point guard Shaun Livingston, who was released by the Wizards on Sunday and signed by the Cleveland on Wednesday, did not play against his former team. … The Wizards return to action Friday night at home against the Orlando Magic, who beat them 90-83 on Dec. 19 in Orlando.