LOS ANGELES -- With a chance to take advantage of losses by the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors on Wednesday to improve their standing in the East, the Wizards couldn’t overcome a 19-point deficit in a 133-124 loss to the L.A. Clippers at Staples Center.
The teams split the season series 1-1. It was the second game of a back-to-back for Washington, playing its final set of the season.
John Wall had his third consecutive game of 30 or more points (game-high 41, eight assists, seven rebounds) to lead Washington, followed by Bradley Beal (27 points, four assists), Jason Smith (14 points, eight rebounds) and Markieff Morris (14 points).
The issue for the Wizards (46-29) wasn’t offense. They shot better than 50% from the field for most of the game and made 13 of 34 three-pointers, or 38.2%, and even rebounded on the level with a 43-41 edge.
They couldn’t defend J.J Redick (31 points), Chris Paul (27 points, 13 assists), Blake Griffin (26 points, nine assists, 10 rebounds), DeAndre Jordan (23 points, 18 rebounds) or Jamal Crawford (14 points).
The Wizards opened strong and took a five-point lead but that quickly wilted.
The pace was furious and literally came down to stops. The Wizards couldn’t rebound from double digits to win for the 17th time.
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--The 74 first-half points allowed were a season high, one more than the Wizards allowed the Milwaukee Bucks in a blowout road loss in December when they were sub-.500. The Clippers shot 27 of 46 from the field, or 58.7%, and were 14 of 18 from the free-throw line. Four starters were in double figures by halftime, while Paul was two assists and Jordan two rebounds from double-doubles.
--The Wizards were successful in their 117-110 comeback in on Dec. 18 because they were able to take away options. They gave up Griffin’s mid-range jumper if it meant fewer shots for Paul and Redick. He took 21 which was seven more than Redick and six more than Paul.
--The whistles were seemingly endless, and the Wizards did their part to earn them. Ian Mahinmi (five points, eight rebounds) picked up his second and third fouls in a 33-second span. Morris picked up his third foul at 7:11 of the second quarter. Beal picked up his third with 37.4 seconds left.
--Marcin Gortat’s funk continued as he missed his first three shots. With a chance to push the lead to 11-5, Gortat missed a dunk over Griffin that led to a run out dunk for the Clippers forward that trimmed Washington’s lead to 9-7 instead. Gortat (six points, four rebounds) only played 19 minutes.
--Morris picked up his ninth technical foul when he tangled with Griffin late in the third. Before that, Mahinmi was assessed a technical on a jump ball for arguing a no-call. It was Mahinmi’s first this season. Morris was ejected at 3:44 of the third when he picked up another technical for what appeared to be a delay-of-game call after Jordan was fouled on a drive. Wall drew his fourth foul at 2:18 on a drive in the third and was hidden on Luc Mbah a Moute, the weakest offensive player, to protect him.
--The Wizards made a run to start the fourth quarter when Clippers coach Doc Rivers rolled out an elderly lineup by NBA standards. Paul Pierce, Alan Anderson, Jamal Crawford, Ray Felton and Mo Speights were no match athletically for the likes of Kelly Oubre (10 points, six rebounds), Bojan Bogdanovic (three points) and Beal. Wall returned and knocked down a jumper and the deficit was down to 114-108.
--Bogdanovic had an open look that could’ve pulled the Wizards to 121-117 with a three-pointer in the last four minutes but like most of his shots lately it was long. He was 1-for-4 from three. He was pulled for Smith. Bogdanovic entered the game 1-for-14 in his previous four games played.
-- Otto Porter (four points) only played 24 minutes. He shot just 2 of 6 and missed his only three-pointer.
--Beal made 5 of 11 three-pointers. He entered the game with 204 and needed two to break the single-season record of 205 set twice by Gilbert Arenas. He surpassed that with a pair of threes in the first half.
--Beal scored 41 points in the first meeting, the same as Wall tonight. But with their best set-up man having to carry the offensive burden it meant Porter, Gortat and Morris likely weren't playing their best and it was in a loss. And they weren't. They combined to shoot 9-for-19, 10 rebounds, four attempted free throws and five assists.
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