The Washington Wizards began their season-high eight-game homestand with a bit of promise, winning two in a row and three of four to move two games over .500.
The Wizards' fortunes, however, have taken a dip with three straight losses heading into the finale of the extended stretch on Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Washington was on the business end of a 116-87 shellacking by the Boston Celtics on Sunday, with Jayson Tatum scoring 48 of his 51 points over the first three quarters. The 29-point decision marks the worst loss of the season for the Wizards, who dropped below .500 for the second time in 2021-22.
Washington coach Wes Unseld Jr. got a first-hand look at the carnage in his first game back from NBA protocol. And he wasn't pleased.
"Obviously, the result wasn't what we desired, but nobody's feeling sorry for us. So, whether we want to pout or feel bad and mope, or we can respond and change it ourselves. That's kind of my mindset; that was the messaging," Unseld said.
Washington made just 35.5 percent of its shots from the floor (33 of 93), and 23.5 percent from 3-point range (8 of 34) on Sunday. Bradley Beal led the team with 19 points and seven assists, but he also combined with Spencer Dinwiddie and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to go 0-for-14 from beyond the arc.
"It was embarrassing, honestly. That's probably the one and only word I have for it," Beal said.
Beal, who averages team-leading totals in points (23.6) and assists (6.5), enjoyed better performances in the Wizards' two games against the Clippers last season. He collected 28 points and 10 assists in his team's 135-116 setback in Los Angeles before finishing with 33 points in a 119-117 win in Washington.
The Clippers dropped a 110-102 decision to the New York Knicks on Sunday, marking their fourth loss in their last six contests overall and second in three outings to begin their eight-game road trip. The result came two days after Los Angeles rallied from a 24-point deficit in the second half to stun Philadelphia.
Reggie Jackson, who made two late free throws to complete the rally against the 76ers, sank four 3-pointers to finish with a team-high 26 points on Sunday. He has averaged 24.8 points over his last four games after totaling 12 in his previous two.
"We came in with the right intentions but kind of gave easy workout shots, rhythm shots," Jackson said Sunday. "I think good intent by people trying to help but overhelping, not being in position to get back to your own, so once they found that rhythm, it made it hard."
Ivica Zubac notched his third consecutive double-double with 17 points and 14 rebounds on Sunday.
"We got hit from the start. Gotta be a team that hits first, that brings the energy," Zubac said.
Luke Kennard (14 points) and Brandon Boston Jr. (13) each contributed double-digit scoring totals off the bench for Los Angeles.
--Field Level Media