May 24, 2022

Washington Nationals Game 14 Review: Jackson, Gorzelanny roughed up by Astros in series finale

Over the past week, it seemed that the Washington Nationals could not lose. Thursday, that came to a halt as the Houston Astros got on top early agaisnt Edwin Jackson and continued the pounding against the bullpen, eventually defeating the Nats 11-4.

The Nationals had their three-game win streak snapped, but they have won eight out of their last 10 games and lead the National League East with a strong 10-4 record.

An announced crowd of 18,045 saw the home team fall into a hole, hustle back, but fall after the mid-point of the contest on a beautiful night on the banks of the Anacostia River. [Read more…]

Washington Wizards pull off another win down the stretch; beat Bucks 121-112

With the season scheduled to end next Thursday, the Washington Wizards are trying to finish on a strong note. They took one more step to accomplishing that on Wednesday night, as they beat another team with playoff aspirations, the Milwaukee Bucks, 121-112 at the Verizon Center.

The Wizards – for the second game in a row – trailed at halftime, but were able to storm back thanks to a truly strong third quarter. They trailed 62-60 to start the period; however, they rallied to take a 65-62 lead off a Kevin Seraphin jumper minutes into it. Thereafter, Washington increased their lead to as much as nine, taking an 91-88 lead into the fourth quarter.

The two teams battled in the final period, but the Wizards hung on and emerged victorious. Washington increased their lead to as much as 11 points with a little more than seven minutes left in the contest; however, the Bucks had a late surge towards the very end.

With the score 100-89, Washington held a solid lead, but Milwaukee scored seven consecutive points in the span of less than two minutes to cut their deficit down to four. The Wizards held a 100-96 lead with only 5:26 left in the contest, but they would not relinquish it.

The Bucks did their best to hang in there, as Brandon Jennings hit a three-pointer with 1:14 left to  within three of the lead, 11-109; however, the Wizards took a 115-109 lead off a Jordan Crawford three-pointer and closed it out.

They increased their lead to nine, 119-110, off a Chris Singleton dunk with 11 seconds left and whittled down the game clock.

After the game, Wizards interim head coach, Randy Wittman complimented his team on their victory over the Bucks, who are managing to sneak in the playoffs. They currently sit in ninth place, two-and-half games out of the eighth, and final playoff spot to the Philadelphia 76ers.

“I am really proud of these guys. We talked before the game about when you have a win like we did on the road against Chicago to really make that game special. You need to come home and win this game.”

He added, “Considering this is a team that was fighting for its playoff life, who needed this game, as well as Chicago getting their first positioning in the playoffs.”

John Wall, who has maintained a solid level of play during the season, lamented on his team’s struggles; however, he knows that they must continue their nice run down the home stretch.

“I guess it feels good because we don’t have a chance at the playoffs. Seeing as though a lot of teams are trying to make it to the playoffs, we just want to go out there and play hard.”

Crawford led the way for Washington with 32 points, and Wall had 14 points and 10 assists. Kevin Seraphin contributed with 14 points; meanwhile, Jan Vesley had eight points and ten rebounds. James Singleton had 11 points off the bench.

Nene – who missed the past few weeks with a foot injury – had 14 points in his return.

“I didn’t know if I was going to play tonight. I just tested myself on the court before the game. They beat us three times this year, and I just felt like I was healthy enough to give it a go. It still hurts a little bit, but this was a sweet win for us.”

Milwaukee’s Monta Ellis had 31 points, and Brandon Jennings scored 25.

With two wins in a row on the week, the Wizards have another tough customer on Saturday night, as they go on the road and face the Miami Heat down in South Florida.

Washington Wizards stun depleted Chicago Bulls on the road

Monday night, the Washington Wizards defeated another playoff-bound contender as they earned an 87-84 win over the Chicago Bulls.

They came back from a deficit in the second half and stormed back in the final minutes of the contest for their 15th victory of the season.

The Wizards were down 65-57 at the start of the fourth quarter to the Bulls; however, they would not waiver at all. They went on a 13-0 run at the start of the period, capped off by a Shelvin Mack jumper to take a 70-68 lead with 7:22 remaining.

Chicago tied the game at 70 a little more than 30 second later and both teams would fight it out until the very end. Washington would never go up by more than four until the end of the game, but they held off their opponents down the stretch.

Chicago reduced the deficit to one, 85-84, with 16 seconds left in the game thanks to a clutch three-pointer by C.J. Watson; however, the Wizards’ Maurice Evans would be fouled with 15 seconds left in the game, end up at the free-throw line, make both of his shots.

With the Wizards up 87-84, the Bulls had time to rally and perhaps stun them, but Chris Singleton blocked a Richard Hamilton three-point attempt and missed subsequent shots by Watson and John Lucas.

A talented Chicago squad could not get anything to materialize in the final seconds, and Washington pulled off the grand upset.

Granted, the Bulls were without Derrick Rose – the best player on their squad – however, the Wizards rallied to comeback against a formidable opponent.

Considering the Wizards trailed in the first quarter and trailed 43-40 at the half, Monday’s victory was an inspiring one in a tough season.

For Washington, Kevin Seraphin was a significant contributor with 21 points and 13 rebounds. John Wall had 16 points and five assists; meanwhile, Maurice Evans scored 14 points off the bench in 26 minutes of play.

Chicago’s Richard Hamilton led all scorers with 22 points. C.J. Watson had 17 points, Carlos Boozer had 16, and Joakim Noah had 6 points, plus 11 rebounds.

After the game, Wizards interim coach Randy Wittman spoke about the compelling victory.

“They responded tonight. We talked about getting our edge back. It was good to see them respond after a couple of bloopers we’ve had lately. We talked that if we’re going to go down, we want to go down aggressively.”

He added, “Tonight our defense was good, I thought that Mo Evans, for not having played much, came out ready and played well for us.”

With the season winding down, the Wizards have not played as well as they have liked; however, they have beaten some quality opponents – such as Chicago – and hope to build from it.

They know how that is how a young Washington squad will get better.

“This team has shown a lot of potential all year. With another good draft and this core group, we have an opportunity to do something special in the future,” remarked Maurice Evans.

There has been a lot of losing with the Wizards, plus ups and downs, they know that lumps sometimes have to be taken to forge ahead and build up their character.

Wall added,” I always play hard, but the losing is tough. We beat the likes of the Lakers, Oklahoma City, and Chicago, and we can look up to those wins. Everyone wants success early, but you need these kinds of bumps and bruises in your career to grow.”

The Wizards are back at the Verizon Center on Wednesday night at 7pm to face the Milwaukee Bucks.

Quotes for this article were obtained from published sources.

Washington Nationals Game 11 Review: Lombardozzi’s big night leads Nats; makes winner of Strasburg

WASHINGTON – On Monday night, the Washington Nationals once again pulled off another win at home as they defeated the Houston Astros, 6-3, in the opening contest of a three-game seat.

The Nats have won six out of their last eight games and sit atop the National League East with an 8-3 record.

Before the game, Washington manager Davey Johnson decided to sit second baseman Danny Espinosa to give him a break, as he is struggling at the plate with a .194 average.

Steve Lombardozzi – who has been somewhat of a forgotten man on the bench this season and looking for regular playing time on a talented roster – stepped in for Espinosa. [Read more…]

Washington Wizards fade late against Cavaliers, fall 98-89

The Washington Wizards on Saturday lost their second consecutive game in a row as they were defeated by the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Verizon Center, 98-89.

They were far more competitive in this game than they were on Friday night in their 38-point-loss against the New York Knicks. The Wizards did extinguish the stench of their trip to New York City as they managed to stay with the Cavaliers for most of the game; however, they faded in the fourth quarter.

Unlike the Knicks who are in the playoff hunt, the Cavaliers are a second division team – much like the Wizards – who are playing for pride.

The Wizards were mired by inconsistency once again, and they could never get seemingly could get a decent push going against their opponents. In addition, the Washington bench did not help much at all, only chipping in with 24 points.

After winning two games in the week against the Charlotte Bobcats and Orlando Magic, they have been haunted by rough starts in the previous two. That fact has got the Wizards in a hole early and perhaps has stalled their upward momentum as of late.

“We got off to a rough start in that first quarter. We missed some easy shot. They shot 67 percent in the first half. We never had any control of the game. We were playing from behind the whole game,” expressed Wizards’ head interim coach Randy Wittman.

He added, “Our focus tonight coming out of timeouts wasn’t very good. We didn’t have a sense of urgency.”

The Wizards players still had the loss on Friday on their minds, and while they tried to use it as motivation, they could not find a way to defeat the Cavaliers.

“I think everyone was mad about last night’s game. We had another game to play, we came out to play, but we didn’t come out with any energy and they got what they wanted whenever they wanted.”

For the Wizards, John Wall bounced back from a poor night in New York and had 19 points and nine assists on Saturday. Jordan Crawford scored 18 points, Kevin Seraphin had 15, and James Singleton had 13 off the bench.

Jan Vesley had a strong night, as he had 11 points with 11 rebounds.

Cleveland’s Luke Harangody had 16 points and 10 rebounds. Anthony Parker had 15 points, and Tristan Thompson had 14.

The game was particularly competitive from the onset as both teams were deadlocked at 22 after the first quarter; however, the Cavaliers would gain a lot of momentum in the second quarter and take as much as an eight point lead before finishing up the first half up, 50-43.

At the start of the second half, the Wizards would rally and come back from a nine-point deficit in the third quarter. They would come within two of the lead, 73-71, at the end of the period.

Both teams were tied at 73 at the start of the final period; however, but Cleveland started to pull away as Luke Harangody hit a huge three-pointer with 11:11 left in the game. They would  rally and take the lead, plus extend it to as much as ten points, with a little less than five minutes left and not look back.

The Wizards were pretty much done as Cleveland took a 94-85 lead with 3:17 as Anthony Parker ended up at the free throw line, making both of his shots.

As the fans filed out of the Verizon Center, the Wizards see their record fall to 14-46, and know they have to finish a season which has been filled with a lot of disappointment.

Wall, in the locker room after the game, expressed what the Wizards have to do win. He knows that they have to will themselves to succeed in the final games of the season and turn the losing ride around.

“I know if you play the game of basketball you might be tired but you have to continue and finish the season out strong. I don’t know how a lot of guys are feeling right now or how they are, but I know the last two games all of us have been mad about losing.”

Jordan Crawford added, “You still have to come out and do your job. If you have bad days at work you still have to come out and put all your energy into it, so it’s no excuse.”

The Washington Wizards have another game on Monday as they will face a tough customer in the Chicago Bulls on the road.

Washington Wizards fail to show up against New York Knicks

On Friday night, the Washington Wizards suffered their 45th loss of the season as the New York Knicks beat them in embarrassing fashion, 103-65 on the road.

The Wizards, who were coming off two consecutive wins against the Charlotte Bobcats and Orlando Magic, ran into a road block up in Madison Square Garden. It was awful. The Wizards never had the lead at any point on Friday night, and by the time first quarter was over, they trailed the Knicks 26-13. It only got worse from there.

Washington was seemingly overwhelmed and would not put up a fight at all. While the Knicks were particularly aggressive, the Wizards valiantly tried to keep up; however, New York would take a 54-33 lead at halftime. In the second half, what was already an unfortunate situation in the Big Apple was beyond comprehension.

The Knicks would finish the third quarter up, 79-47, as they continued to play solid basketball and went on a 15-0 run that lasted seven minutes; meanwhile, the Wizards only looked more inept as they did not score a point in that time frame before Cartier Martín hit two free three throws with 29 seconds left in the period. They did not even break the 50-point mark until Shelvin Mack’s layup with 6:43 left in the game.

Of course, the New York faithful in attendance at Madison Square Garden – as vocal and rough as they can be – let the Wizards have it on the court during the fourth quarter. Before Mack’s score, the Knicks’ fans shouted “forty-seven” over and over.

Eventually, the game ended and the Wizards were left to ponder what they endured on Friday night. In the end, the Wizards only shot a ghastly 27.8 percent from the floor. That killed them. New York owned the contest from the start; however, the Wizards made it extremely easy for them.

“They don’t stop, they keep the pressure going. We didn’t come out with enough energy in the beginning, but we fought our way back in the second quarter”, said John Wall – who only had eight points with four assists and only shot 2-of-12 from the field. He added, “Made it a close game for a while with lapses on defense. We missed easy shots. We turned the ball over a lot… getting them easy points.”

For the Washington, Jordan Crawford had 17 points, while Kevin Seraphin had 12. New York’s J.R. Smith led all scorers with 23 points – all of the bench. Carmelo Anthony scored 18 points in only 29 minutes of play, as he sat out much of the second half. Steve Novak and Baron Davis both had 18 points.

In the post-game press conference, Wizards’ interim coach Randy Wittman did not mince words about what happened on the court. “It’s embarrassing is what it was. Our effort tonight was uncharacteristic of what we had been doing. It looked like we were overwhelmed from the jump ball when we walked into the arena.”

Roger Mason – who scored 11 points on the night – added, “The way we played today was completely embarrassing. The thing with this league is you have to bring it every night. That team (The Knicks) is fighting for playoff position (and) we’re fighting for our pride. They came out and completely humiliated us.”

The lack of effort by his teammates in the loss was also brought up. “The biggest thing is our effort. You’re going to have nights when you miss shots; you’re going to have nights when the other team hits shots. With us early on that wasn’t the case. We we’re lethargic. We let them do whatever they want on the offensive end.”

Then again, it is probably best if they expunged their trip to New York out of their minds – very quickly. The Wizards will play at home on Saturday night at the Verizon Center against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Washington Wizards knock off Orlando Magic behind Kevin Seraphin’s big night

Tuesday night, the Washington Wizards won their second consecutive game as they defeated the Orlando Magic, 93-86 at the Verizon Center.

Without superstar Dwight Howard on the court for Orlando due to back spasms, the Wizards sailed to victory in the fourth quarter and used a career night from Kevin Seraphin – who had 24 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks, all career highs – to snap a painful nine-game losing streak against the Magic.

After their decisive win against the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday night, the Wizards continued their momentum against Orlando.

Interim coach Randy Wittman said, “I think coming back after the performance we had last night, it was critical to back it up. This afternoon a couple of guys said, we’ve got to play with the same confidence we played with last night’, and that showed tonight.”

He added, “With [Howard] out, that was one of the directives to our guys. They don’t have a shot-blocker back there protecting the rim. Don’t settle for jump shots if we can get to the rim and make decisions at the rim, whether finishing ourselves or kicking out for the open guy. I thought we did that. Obviously they missed a huge part of their team tonight, but this was a good win for us.”

For Washington, Jordan Crawford had 21 points and John Wall added 15. James Singleton and Cartier Martin – both on ten game contracts – came in huge in the clutch off bench with 12 points each.

Orlando’s Jameer Nelson had 19 points. J.J. Redick chipped in with 15 and Quentin Richardson had 14.

Despite the victory, things did not look good from the outset for Washington. They fell behind 29-18 in the first quarter, and it seemed that the Magic was ready to blow the Wizards out. However, the Wizards used a 14-2 run in the second quarter to finish the half tied with the Magic at 41.

Washington outscored Orlando 23-12 in the period, and they stayed competitive after the start of the second half. Both teams kept things very close in the third quarter, and the Magic held a razor thin 61-60 lead heading into the final period. However, the Wizards eventually pulled away, something the Verizon Center crowd has not seen a whole lot of this season.

The Wizards took a 65-64 lead off a Seraphin two-pointer at the 10:10 mark of the period but Orlando tied the game at 69 off a Jason Richardson three-pointer with 8:19 left in the game. Washington took 72-69 lead as Martin hit a three-pointer with 7:28 remaining and would not look back from there.

The Wizards put the game away with 1:21 left as Crawford hit a three-pointer to put them up, 89-81.

After the game, Wall spoke about his team’s effort, especially the role players off the bench.

“We did a great job playing perimeter defense. With Dwight [Howard] out we knew they were going to live and die on the three-point line. We did a good job playing hard. We kept fighting, and we had a lot of guys come off the bench and step up and have a good game.”

Washington Wizards wilt down the stretch again, fall to Pacers 93-89

On Thursday night, the Washington Wizards lost a close contest to the Indiana Pacers on the road, 93-89.

For seemingly the umpteenth time this season, the Wizards lost a game they could have won. Even though they were competitive and stayed neck-and-neck with the Pacers until the very end, Thursday’s loss hurt.

Once again, the Wizards were able to build a lead after the half, only to lose late down the stretch. Washington was up 68-60 with a little more than four minutes left into the third quarter; however, Indiana went on a 12-4 run thereafter, rallied, finished the period up 72-69 and then controlled the fourth quarter.

Although the Wizards tied the game at 76 with 8:11 remaining off of two Nene three throws, they valiantly hung on, but never regained the edge. They could not stop the Pacers despite only trailing at one point in the fourth quarter by no more than five points.

Sadly, the Wizards made some mistakes down the stretch, and a turnover with a little more than 30 seconds left in the game by John Wall crippled them.

The Wizards trailed 91-89 seconds left off a Nene dunk, but they sent the Pacer’s Darren Collison to the foul line with eight seconds left. He hit both of his free throws to put Indiana up 93-89, and by then, the game was over for Washington.

Again, the inability to close out games for Washington cost them another potential victory.

After the game, Wizards’ interim coach Randy Wittman spoke about his team’s effort, but also stated what they have to do to end up in the win column.

“You have to make simple, simple plays down the stretch. It might sound trivial or fundamental, but it has to be the easiest play you can make down the stretch and if it’s not, then you can’t take the chance. They’re busting their tails and playing hard, we just have to break through the barrier.

He added, “Everybody wants to win and we’re putting ourselves in position to win every game. We just came up short. You can’t let frustration get the best of you. You have to keep plugging away. We’re doing a lot of positive things and we’ve got to remember that part.”

Meanwhile, John Wall – who had 13 points on the night – quipped, “They got a lead (in the fourth quarter) and they just kept it the rest of the quarter. We were fighting, but we couldn’t find a way to get back in front.

For Washington, Nene had 16 points and 13 rebounds. Jordan Crawford had another strong game, as he scored 20 points. Trevor Booker had 11 rebounds and Cartier Martin – just called up from the NBA development league – had 10 points.

Indiana’s Danny Granger had 25 points and led all scorers. Both David West and George Hill scored 14 points.

Wall spoke about the Wizards need to do and stay in close games – but win, and win often.

“Just executing down the stretch and getting the right shot attempts. We’re getting a lot better as a team. We’re right in games with a lot of playoff teams. But we have to find a way to close out games.”

The Wizards’ next contest is on Friday night as they face the Philadelphia Sixers at the Verizon Center.

Wizards start second half with close last-second loss to Bucks

The Washington Wizards started out the second half of their season much like they closed out the first – with a loss. But at least it was exciting. The Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Wizards 119-118 courtesy of a tip-in with just 2.2 seconds left in the game.

With less than seven seconds left, John Wall nailed a jumper into the basket to give Washington a 118-117 lead. Considering that they trailed for most of the game, Wall’s clutch shot gave the Wizards a shot to snap their losing skid, which was at four.

However, the Bucks had a chance to snatch a potential victory from the Wizards and did just that.

With 2.2 seconds left in the contest, Eran Illysova tipped in Brandon Jennings missed shot, and gave the Wizards only a few seconds to take the lead.

That would not happen for the Wizards. Their hope went out the window as Wall – after receiving a pass – was called for a travel. A little more than a second later, the buzzer sounded and signaled the end of the game. The losing streak would continue for the Wizards and reach five games.

John Wall led Washington with 19 points and 15 assists; Trevor Booker had 20 points and Chris Singleton had 16.

Jordan Crawford had 19 points off the bench; Maurice Evans had 15, and Roger Mason scored 14.

For Milwaukee, Mike Dunleavy led all scorers with 28 points, Drew Gooden had 15, and Brandon Jennings had 14.

If there’s any moral victory to take out of Tuesday’s contest, it is this: when the Wizards trailed, they were able to claw back into the action. However, it took a little initiative from Randy Wittman and some effort by the bench in the second half.

“The group that was out there in the second half gave it all they had. I thought Chris Singleton was playing like a beast down there at the ‘4.’ Mo gave us great minutes. John (Wall) controlled the game”, said Mason.

He added, “The guys that played in the second half just brought energy. We didn’t have a height advantage, but we played really hard and that’s how we got back in the game.”

The Wizards fell behind in the first quarter 33-24 and trailed 67-53 by halftime. In the second half, Maurice Evans, Roger Mason and Jordan Crawford played some crucial minutes and made an impact.

Wittman benched an ineffective JaVale McGee – for the remainder of the game – along with Nick Young. Once they left, the Wizards started their comeback.

They would fall behind by 22 points after halftime; however, Washington rallied in the third quarter. They would use six three pointers, and an extended 28-8 run to tie the game at 81 with 3:43 off an Evans’ layup.  They would take the lead briefly – 87-86 – with a little more than a minute-and-half remaining; however, they would trail 92-89 leading into the fourth quarter.

Despite the loss, Wall mentioned the impact that Wittman had on the night.

“Coach Wittman is a good coach. He knows what to do to motivate us. He knows we don’t need motivation. We just need to go out there as a team and play hard. “

He added, “He was satisfied in with the second half but he said ‘Why can’t you do that for 48 minutes?”

The Wizards return home on Wednesday night to face the Orlando Magic at the Verizon Center.

Wizards complete West Coast swing, get burned by Suns 104-88

The Washington Wizards finished their five-game road trip on Monday night, this time with a loss to the Phoenix Suns, 104-88.

They were looking to come home to Washington with a winning record that started in Detroit and moved out West.

Sadly, that would not happen as the Wizards were competitive in the game throughout the third quarter; however, the Suns (14-19) just utterly dominated in that period, outscoring the Wizards in embarrassing fashion – 32 to 13.

What was a close game after halftime would immediately become a laugher for the Suns. For much of the year, the Wizards (7-25) have been inconsistent, and at times showing cohesion, plus flashes of brilliance.

However, the problems that have plagued the Wizards all season against stronger opponents manifested itself in that time frame.

The Wizards held their own, as they took a 55-54 lead with 8:12 remaining off a Trevor Booker jumper and free throw; however, things fell apart afterwards – quickly.

The Suns used an inexplicable 31-6 run to dispose of their opponents. After Booker’s shot, they scored 16 consecutive points and just rolled from there. By then, the game was over.

The Wizards, who had been passing the ball well all night, just stopped. Players were missing shots, botching basic fundamental items, and that in turn, buried them.

The Wizards were behind 81-65 at the start of the fourth quarter, and despite hustling a bit in the final period, it was for naught.

“They got on a run, and we made some bad decisions. They took advantage of it.”, said Jordan Crawford — who had 20 points off the bench.

He added, “When you get down I think everybody tries to be the hero. I think that cost us. We’re always right there, up by one or down by one and something happens. We’ve got to find a way to stop teams from making a run. “

John Wall also shared his thoughts on Washington’s breakdown in the third quarter.

“We stopped playing as a team; we stopped moving the ball. We took tough shots. With a team that gets out and goes it gets the crowd into it – they can spark a big lead and they did. “

He added, “We weren’t making shots and that made it tough in our zone and they made a lot of shots. We put ourselves in that situation and the only way to get out of it is to play as a team and try to get stops. We weren’t doing the little things to help us.”

For the Wizards, Booker had 16 points and 8 rebounds in the losing effort. Wall had 10 points, along with six rebounds and six assists.

Nick Young only had six points on the night on 3-of-13 shooting. As well, he missed all four of his three-point attempts.

Phoenix’s Marcin Gortat had 20 points; meanwhile, Steve Nash scored 12 points and had 11 assists. Channing Frye had 19 points and 11 rebounds.

However, the loss on Monday did not sit well with Wizards coach Randy Wittman. They have now lost three straight games on their road trip and he expressed his thoughts loud and clear on his team’s effort.

“We became selfish. We were up one and go on a spree of the most selfish basketball I’ve seen since I’ve taken over.”

He added, “I’ve got to find the right people to find the right way to play. But I’m not letting that slip back in.”

After finishing 2-3 on their road trip, the Wizards close out the first half of their season at home versus the Sacramento Kings Wednesday night.

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