The Washington Wizards blew a 19-point lead Sunday, throwing away an opportunity to tie their series with the Indiana Pacers in a heartbreaking, yet completely avoidable 95-92 Game 4 loss.
Only eight of 194 teams in NBA history have ever blown a seven-game series when leading 3-1, so the Wizards' season, at least according to the annals of history, is likely over.
Among the reasons why the Wizards (who are 4-1 on the road in the playoffs, but 1-3 at home) have failed to keep pace (pun slightly intended) is that they are coming up small in crunch time.
Despite watching their lead evaporate by the end of the third quarter, the Wizards pushed their one-point lead to start the fourth back up to nine with roughly six minutes to go. That is when things went awry.
According to ESPN, the Wizards are shooting 3-for-16 with 13 points and four turnovers in the series during "clutch time," defined as "the last five minutes of the game with the score within five points."
Sunday, Washington was 1-for-7 with three turnovers in that situation, including Trevor Ariza's errant inbound pass that clinched Indiana's victory.
“It’s tough. We really did put ourselves in position to win,” forward Al Harrington told reporters. “We felt we were in position where we could control this series. We’ve given that up that this point. We’re in a tough spot.”
Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.