The Wizards lost another road game. This time it was the Hornets, who topped Washington by a score of 97-89 in New Orleans on Tuesday night in a game they controlled from the second quarter until the end.
It was consecutive road loss No. 25 to start the season for the Wizards. Their streak -- four shy of the all-time record -- can now officially rent a car.
Unheralded forward Jason Smith did much of the damage for New Orleans, finishing with 20 points, 15 of which came in the first half. Chris Paul turned in an easy 15 points, nine assist, five rebound effort in just 31 minutes.
For the Wizards, Nick Young shook out of his two-game slump, turning in his fifth 30-point effort of the season. Young shot the ball well (9-of-18 FG) and attacked the defense, shooting 12 free throws (compared to 11 total in the last two games). Andray Blatche added 21 points and nine rebounds.
The good news for the Wizards is that they now head back to the Verizon Center where they are 13-10 on the season. Perhaps even better news is that their next road trip starts in Cleveland, where the Cavaliers are having plenty of problems of their own.
The Washington Wizards held a slim lead against the Hornets late in the first quarter. Then New Orleans went on a 9-3 run to close out the quarter and take a 29-26 lead. That run continued into the second quarter as the Hornets separated to take an 11-point lead -- their largest of the game -- into the half.
Naturally, forward Jason Smith has done the bulk of the damage for the Hornets in spot duty for the injured Emeka Okafor. Smith has 15 points and has not missed a shot in seven attempts. This it-came-from-outer-space eruption comes two games after the unremarkable Darrell Arthur came off the bench for Memphis and went for 22 points and five boards. Just saying.
Chris Paul has also posed problems. He has 11 points, four rebounds and four assists.
The good news for the Wizards is that Nick Young and Andray Blatche appear to be back on track after a couple of off nights. Young leads Washington with 13 points and Blatche added eight. Just as important, the pair have shot an efficient 10 for 16 from the field.
John Wall has kicked off his defense of the Rookie of Month crown with four points, five rebounds and three assists.
Surprise, surprise. The Wizards are still searching for their first road win of the season as they close out a four-game road trip in New Orleans vs. Chris Paul and the Hornets on Tuesday night. Perfect time for a raging SB Nation DC watch party at the Madhatter in Dupont Circle at 7 p.m. (You see, the drink specials should ameliorate the pain.)
Stop me if you've heard this before, but It's been a tough road trip for John Wall and Washington. They've lost in big, they've lost small, and somewhere in between. Different story, same ending. The Wizards enter Tuesday night's contest without a road win on the season -- 24 consecutive defeats.
But this trip hasn't been all bad, right? Let's try and be positive.
Mike Prada a nice read over on Bullets Forever about appreciating Yi Jianlian's improvement as a small-ball center, albeit within a small sample. Wall finally unseated Landry Fields, taking his rightful place as Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month, opposite Blake Griffin. And the Wizards played their best road game of the season against Oklahoma City, even if a) they lost and b) it's hard to remember in the flood of losses.
You see, it's not all so bad. And even if the Wizards keep losing, keep in mind this: we're all witness to history. Twenty-four straight road losses to start the season in the books. Just six more to go for the all-time record.
But back to tonight's game.
The obvious matchup to watch will be Wall vs. Paul. The exciting point guards turned in similar lines in the first matchup in the first meeting between these two teams. Paul finished with 13 points, 11 assists to Wall's 12 points and 10 assists. But the Hornet guard also added seven steals and picked up the win.
This time around, the Hornets hope to get back on track following back-to-back road losses. New Orleans has not lost three games in a row since mid-December. Anybody think that ends tonight?