A 35-point lead should be safe for any NBA team, let alone one facing a Los Angeles Clippers squad that was missing Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Marcus Morris Sr.
The Washington Wizards missed the memo.
Washington held a 35-point lead in the second quarter and a 30-point lead at halftime of Tuesday's game but ultimately fell to the Clippers in a 116-115 defeat. As if that wasn't bad enough, the Wizards were up by three points in the final seconds only to lose on a four-point play by Luke Kennard, who was fouled by Bradley Beal as he shot a three-pointer:
Kennard stuffed the stat sheet off the bench with 25 points, eight rebounds and six assists, while Amir Coffey led the way for the starting lineup with 29 points, five rebounds and two steals. Isaiah Hartenstein (16 points, six assists and five rebounds) and Terance Mann (16 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals) also played well in supporting roles.
The Clippers needed a win like this after going just 7-13 in the prior 20 games, and they improved to 24-25 on the campaign.
As for the Wizards, Beal finished with 23 points, nine rebounds and six assists as one of seven players in double figures. However, that balanced offensive attack was not enough to make up for the defensive mistakes in the second half.
Los Angeles poured in 80 points after halftime, and David Aldridge of The Athletic did not hold back when assessing the performance for the home team:
The 23-25 Wizards are trending in the wrong direction with a fourth consecutive loss, all of which saw the opponent score at least 109 points. Jayson Tatum just exposed Washington's defense for 51 points in Sunday's contest, and there was no bounce-back effort this time out.
"You would think as a collective group we would have our roles figured out, but we don't," Kyle Kuzma told reporters after the loss.
Head coach Wes Unseld Jr. also addressed the shocking defeat:
NBC Sports Wizards @NBCSWizards
"But collectively, 1-10, myself included this is embarrassing." <br><br>Wes Unseld Jr. addresses the Wizards' collapse against LAC. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WizClippers?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WizClippers</a> <a href="https://t.co/XZCzm31Bkm">pic.twitter.com/XZCzm31Bkm</a>
Washington is now tied with the New York Knicks for the No. 10 spot in the Eastern Conference standings, which is critical this season with the play-in tournament in place for the Nos. 7-10 seeds.
The Clippers are ninth in the Western Conference despite being below .500.