There were three reasons that made the Washington Wizards' 23rd road loss of the season at the hands of the Memphis Grizzlies predictable.
For one, they haven't won on the road all year so why would Saturday night be any different?
Second, they were coming off of a double overtime loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder in which guards John Wall and Nick Young each played 52 minutes.
And lastly, they were without starter, JaVale McGee (flu).
Yet, for some reason, it just seemed like it could finally be night that the embarrassing road loss record would come to an end. After all, the Grizzlies were missing their starting guard, O.J. Mayo. and were also on the second game of a back to back.
The problems for Washington started and ended in the paint. They couldn't stop Zach Randolph and he made them pay in the amount of 24 points and 20 rebounds. McGee's absence was felt, but truth be told, there wasn't a whole lot he could have done against the 260-pound forward on this night. Randolph's presence and Darrell Arthur's career game helped give Memphis a 68-36 advantage in the paint. They outrebounded Washington by 11, including an unacceptable 14 offensive rebounds.
"I don't know. We don't stay consistent with play calling. It's crazy. It can't be us all the time. The same thing we run against the Thunder, we came out with a different plan. It can't be us every night. We should've carried over what we had against the Thunder. We should've came out excited and ready to pump and going with the same routine. Everybody came out forced, like we got to get this done, and that forced us to play different." - Nick Young
The guard tandem of Wall and Young couldn't get going offensively, finishing with a combined 6-19 shooting and six turnovers. Forwards Rashard Lewis and Andray Blatche weren't much better, shooting 4-10 and 4-12, respectively.
While the Wizards struggled to shoot at a decent percentage, Memphis was able to knock down 50 percent of their shots. Tony Allen, Marc Gasol, and Mike Conley all hit 50 percent or better, scoring 15, 14, and 15 points each.
Nick Young hinted at some selfishness by players on the court when he told reporters, "Everyone feels like they can change the game, be a game-changer. We've just got to stay consistent with what we're running."
As frustration continues to mount with the road losing streak, things won't get any easier. Washington is about to enter a brutal stretch on their schedule.
They will travel for road games on back to back nights at Dallas and New Orleans, followed by home games against Orlando, Atlanta, Milwaukee, and San Antonio.
With a 13-33 record and four straight losses, the Wizards will be heavy underdogs in each of their next six matchups. If there are any whispers of discontent on the court after Saturday night's loss to Memphis, expect those words to become much louder over the next week or two. For the first time all season, the Wizards' season may be on the brink of spiraling out of control unless head coach Flip Saunders can rally the team together to win a couple of games - home or away.
Photo Credit: AP/Nikki Boertman