The Washington Wizards snapped a six-game win streak Monday in a 110-104 loss to Mike Miller and the visiting Memphis Grizzlies. The former Wizards guard-forward scored 10 points off the bench, including a clutch three-pointer late in the fourth quarter. Washington achieved 40 points in the period but fell short on the other side of the floor.
One of the reasons the Wizards fizzled out Monday was their 34-62 difference in points in the paint. Over half of the Grizzlies' points came from within the painted area. As Wizards forward-center Nene continues to sit (knee) following his heroic, 30-point performance against the New Orleans Pelicans, that painted area will continue to be an issue. Without the "Big Brazilian," Washington will need a little more "Polish Machine."
"[Memphis] is [a] really good team," said Wizards center Marcin Gortat after the loss. "We battled, we didn't make shots today. We missed easy bunnies." For Gortat, who scored 16 points on 7-for-12 shooting (58.3%), rebounds were more of an issue than points. Memphis finished the game shooting 54.4% from the floor and Gortat fell two rebounds shy of extending a seven-game double-double streak, a streak which included a career night for Gortat during a 3OT victory over the Toronto Raptors (only the second 3OT in franchise history). "They really came in, beat us, they played well."
Washington's Wednesday night battle with the Utah Jazz (7:00 p.m. ET) will give the squad a chance to redeem their defensive lapses, and may feature the play of guard-forward Otto Porter. The rookie earned a few more minutes Monday due to the absence of reserve Martell Webster (back). Porter chipped in two three-pointers during Washington's 40-point fourth quarter, as the Wizards whittled a 19-down deficit to 2. Porter isn't going to get a whole lot of playing time otherwise, but it was a good stretch for the rook, and a positive going forward.