- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 16, 2017

Wrap up Wednesday night this way: more bad defense with the escape.

Washington lost at home 112-107 to Dallas, which came into the game 10 games under .500. Boston won, which puts the Wizards 1.5 games out of the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference. Three points from the evening:

Last thing they want to see. John Wall sent a scare through the Verizon Center when he stayed on the ground after a fall.

Wall drove to the basket with 1:50 to play in the second quarter and injured himself following an awkward landing.

Wall was defended well by the Mavericks’ Nerlens Noel, who forced him to drive to the other side of the basket and twist back to attempt a shot. Noel blocked it and Wall landed awkwardly.

“Tried to block my shot, kind of had his hands on my back and I just tried to fall,” Wall said. “My foot got caught underneath me.”

He stayed on the ground for about 30 seconds after reaching for his left foot, which he sprained. X-rays taken at halftime were negative. Wall does not know if he will need more tests Thursday or if he will be able to play Friday against the Chicago Bulls, despite returning to play 20 minutes in the second half on Wednesday.

“I don’t know,” Wall said. “Just listen to whatever the trainers and doctors tell me to do. They’ll probably have a discussion tonight. Find out later on tonight or in the morning [on Thursday].”

Wall was helped up by multiple staff members and limped to the locker room after he landed in the second quarter. Brandon Jennings replaced him to end the half. Wall jogged back onto the floor just before halftime finished.

“It’s pretty sore,” Wall said. “It didn’t feel as bad as it did when I sprained my foot my rookie year. I felt it was going to be not that serious, but something close where I probably wouldn’t be able to play, but it worked out pretty fine.”

Defense remains putrid. Before the game, Wizards coach Scott Brooks said Washington was playing the same defense it played in November. That’s not good. Despite going 4-1 on the road, the Wizards’ defense was poor for a large chunk of those games. Brooks is back searching for proper coverages and player mix on the floor to stop teams from smacking the Wizards on defense, particularly at the 3-point line. The Mavericks scored 39 points in the fourth quarter Wednesday. Seven 3-pointers helped to lead to what was Dallas‘ highest-scoring quarter of the season. “I wish I could really pinpoint it on one thing because it multiple things that we’re giving up,” Bradley Beal said. “Our pick-and-roll defense isn’t very good, our weak-side help isn’t really good. Heck our switching is not 100 percent good all the time. It’s a lot of things that we just need to get better. It’s probably just our communication and our willingness to want to get down and guard and get a stop.”

Jennings the pass-happy point guard. Brandon Jennings is working in an odd space where he has been criticized for not shooting enough. This was never a problem for Jennings in the past, particularly when he entered the league as a scoring point guard who was criticized then for shooting too much. He put together another interesting stat line Wednesday night: Four assists, two rebounds and three shots attempts in 16 minutes. Since joining the Wizards on March 3, Jennings has 35 assists, eight rebounds and seven field goals made.

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