August 29, 2016

Washington Wizards Game 82 Recap: On eve of organization turnover, Wiz get to .500 in win over Hawks

The end of the regular season is finally here. The Washington Wizards came into their season finale against the Atlanta Hawks with nothing to play for besides pride and a .500 record to end the year. Randy Wittman, reported to be relieved of his duties soon, believes the team (of those that will be available) is ready to play. The reserves that did play certainly played hard and seemed to play with more energy and hustle than an Atlanta team that had something to play for. Ramon Sessions led the way with 22 points as Washington headed into the offseason on a slight positive note. The Wizards finished the season 41-41 after a 109-98 victory over the Hawks.

After a game of zero defense in Brooklyn, that trend looked to continue for Washington as they were able to score at will without getting stops on the other end. With the majority of Wizards starters sitting, all except Otto PorterNene took advantage of starting with eight first quarter points on four of five shooting. Tim Hardaway continued to be a thorn in Washington’s side by making his first three shots, all of which were from beyond the arc. At the end of the final first quarter of the season, things were tied at 33 as the Verizon Center faithful were deprived of one last Egg McMuffin.

[Read more…]

Washington Wizards Game 71 Recap: Wiz embarrassed by Hawks, fail to get above .500 for first time in four months

(Photo by: @BulletsForever)

(Photo by: @BulletsForever)

Head coach Randy Wittman attributed the recent five-game winning streak and better offense to “making the simple plays” and not turning the ball over too much. Two days removed from cruising by the Hawks in Atlanta, the Washington Wizards were looking to continue the momentum on their home court. After a pleasant start the game, Washington’s lack of perimeter defense caught up with the home team in the fourth quarter as the Hawks had a season-high 17 3-pointers. As a result the Wizards got blown out 122-101 and have still failed to get above .500 since November 24.

It was again the road team that got off to the fast start, but Washington quickly nipped that in the backside with a 12-0 run of their own. After taking just two shots two night ago, Kyle Korver made an immediate impact for Atlanta tonight by draining his first two 3-point attempts. Washington got a 25-15 lead midway through the first behind John Wall’s five assists in the game’s first six minutes. The Hawks made their run while Washington went scoreless over the final four minutes, but after one period the Wizards led 25-22.

Extending back into the first quarter, Atlanta was on a 16-3 run that gave them a three point advantage early in the second quarter. With five ties and six lead changes in the quarter alone, a back and forth pace ensued. The Hawks attempted a whopping 22 3-pointers in the half, many of which were open, but luckily only eight went through otherwise Washington would have been in big trouble. With Garrett Temple on the bench with two fouls and Alan Anderson continuing to deal with an ankle injury, the home squad got an unexpected lift from mid-season pick up Marcus Thornton who had six points in the quarter. Finishing the quarter on a 7-0 run, Washington had a 56-52 lead at intermission.

Markieff Morris hit a couple of jump shots to pace the Wizards early, but the home team could not increase their lead to more than four points. Towards the end of the quarter, the Hawks rattled off a 12-0 run while Bradley Beal was on the bench. Thornton hit a much needed 3-pointer to stop the bleeding monetarily but the Wizards went into the final quarter down 81-75.

The torture continued in the fourth quarter as sloppy offense and turnovers saw the deficit ballooned to 17 with Atlanta going on an 11-0 run. Every time the Wizards seemed to have an answer, whether it be a Thornton or Morris 3-pointer, the Hawks came back and hit one of their own. The road team shot seven of twelve from beyond the arc in the final quarter and things were ugly for a team that is supposedly fighting for their playoff lives. The last two minutes of play highlighted garbage time play from Kelly Oubre Jr. and the Wizards fell 122-101.

Before heading out on a five-game West Coast road trip, the Wizards will welcome the Minnesota Timberwolves for a Friday night showdown.

Washington Wizards Game 70 Recap: Wiz get back to .500 by beating Hawks on the road, a rarity

(Photo by: @Wizards)

(Photo by: @Wizards)

The Washington Wizards’ victories after the lottery bound Philadelphia 76ers and New York Knicks were not particularly pretty, but it got the job done. Next up was the difficult task of beating the Atlanta Hawks on the road where they have lost 14 of their lost 15. That record improved tonight as the Wizards had one of their best offensive performances post all-star break. In another balanced scoring attack, all five starters in double figures, the House of Guards poured in 52 points. Bradley Beal looked like his old Blue Magic self with 25 points as the Wizards pulled away late for a 117-102 victory over the playoff bound Hawks.

Washington got off to a hot start by making their first three field goals and jumping out to a 7-0 lead. The ball movement was superb in the early goings with seven assists on the Wizards first seven made field goals. Marcin Gortat led the charge with 6 of 8 shooting from the field in the opening quarter. The hot start did not continue as John Wall and Otto Porter combined for a miserable 3 of 13 shooting in the first quarter, while the Hawks hit four 3-pointers with inside-out passing. After twelve minutes of play the home team had a 30-27 edge by finishing the quarter on a 14-6 run.

[Read more…]

Washington Wizards Game 6 Review: Fourth quarter spurt by Atlanta dooms Wiz

The Washington Wizards believe they should be considered at the top of the Southeast Division with the Atlanta Hawks. They had their first chance to prove it Saturday, but a fourth-quarter spurt by Atlanta proved the difference and the Wizards fell 114-99 at Phillips Arena.

The Hawks won their seventh consecutive after an opening night loss to Detroit.

The Wizards fall to 3-3 after consecutive road losses to Boston and the Hawks. [Read more…]

Washington Wizards Game 50 Review: Wiz skid continues in loss to Hawks

WALL HAS 24 POINTS WITH 9 ASSISTS AND 7 BOARDS AS WIZ LOSE 4TH STRAIGHT

The Atlanta Hawks defeated the Washington Wizards, 105-96, Wednesday night at Philips Arena in Atlanta. This was the Wizards’ season high fourth straight loss. The Hawks rebounded with a victory after the New Orleans Pelicans ended their 19-game winning streak.

Coming out of halftime trailing 59-46, the Wizards forced the Hawks to call timeout by cutting the deficit to 66-60 with 8:03 left in the third quarter behind Marcin Gortat’s eight points. The Wizards continued to chip away at the lead. Bradley Beal brought the Wizards to within one with a three-point play when he was fouled on a layup with 3:25 left. John Wall added two free throws to give the Wizards their short-lived lead at 74-73 with 1:16 left in the quarter. [Read more…]

Washington Wizards Game 37 Review: Turnovers doom Washington as Hawks overpower Wizards

The Atlanta Hawks have been a team on the rise this year, soaring up the NBA standings and putting the rest of the Association on notice.

They certainly put the Wizards on notice Sunday.

The Southeast Division-leading Hawks never trailed en route to a 120-89 win over the Wizards in Atlanta. All five starters for the Hawks were in double figures, as were three bench players. Atlanta was in control of just about every statistical category and dominated the game throughout. [Read more…]

Washington Wizards Game 13 Review: Streaking Hawks top Wiz

NENE SITS WITH INJURY

The Atlanta Hawks defeated the Washington Wizards, 106-102, Tuesday night at the Verizon Center in Washington. The Hawks have won six out of their last eight.

Mike Scott and former Wizard Shelvin Mack led a decisive 24-11 run at the beginning of fourth quarter by scoring 16 straight points to give the Hawks a 13-point lead. The game was tied at 66 going into the fourth quarter. The Wizards hit four late three-pointers to bring the score to its final margin.

The Hawks (7-5) never had a lead of larger than four before they broke it open. The largest Wizards lead was 10, at 22-12.

The Wizards (9-4) committed 25 turnovers. Bradley Beal was guilty of seven of them, while his backcourt mate John Wall turned the ball over six times.

“That was as bad as we could play offensively for whatever reason,” coach Randy Wittman said.”We were trying to do too much, over dribbling, ball sticking, and predetermining no matter what the defense was going to do. We just get in trouble like that. We had a little bit of that the first half in Milwaukee and we were able to come out of that and get it changed in the second half. That was trying to do too much by everyone.”

Bradley Beal was circumspect after the game.

“Yeah. I’m so upset at myself, I’ve never seen myself turn the ball over that many times. I think it is, everybody wants to just try and force it there and try and make a play and sometimes it just doesn’t fall in our favor, it’s a domino effect.”

Jeff Teague led the Hawks with 28 points. Paul Millsap scored 17 points and brought down 11 rebounds. Off the bench, Scott added 17 points, while Mack scored 13.

John Wall led the Wizards with 21 points and 13 assists. Marcin Gortat scored 12 points and contributed 11 rebounds.

Nene missed his first game of the season due to plantar fasciitis.

Washington Wizards Game 73 Recap: With playoff berth in sight, Wiz edge past Hawks

With their first playoff berth since 2008 in sight, the Washington Wizards held on to top the Atlanta Hawks 101-97 Saturday night.

A Sunday win by the Golden State Warriors over the New York Knicks could seal the deal for the Washington team which continues to insist their focus has been on winning the games at hand. But, the Wiz Kids, without a doubt, will keep their eyes peeled for what happens at Oracle Arena.

“We’re just trying to play basketball the right way like we did the last three games and find a way to win,” guard John Wall said after Saturday’s game. “We had a bad stretch in that west coast trip and came back and lost games and then we got back on the right track and we are just trying to stay that way. We knew these two games were pretty big for us and the game on Monday is even bigger against Charlotte that’s coming to try to get our sixth spot.”

“I just want to finish the season strong, make sure that we’re going to secure a good spot and then we’re going to think about playoffs,” added center Marcin Gortat.

Still, in the here and now, the Wizards will have to figure out how to hold onto games without losing momentum in the final minutes of play. In Saturday’s win, Washington led by 10 points with just 2:38 remaining in the game before the Hawks scored eight straight points to make it 99-97 Wizards.

Luckily for Washington, Drew Gooden made two free throws with seven seconds remaining, to bring the Wizards to their 101-97 final.

As Gortat eloquently stated after the game: “”We call this fatigue and [being]  too relaxed. I’m glad we won that game. Otherwise, I’d probably shoot myself at home.”

Wall was the star of the game with 25 points and seven rebounds, and Bradley Beal and Trevor Ariza added 14 and 13 points, respectively. Washington also enjoyed a huge advantage off the boards, thanks in part to Gortat’s 11 rebounds. The Wizards recorded 44 rebounds, to just top  the Hawks’ 40, but, in the second half, Washington outrebounded Atlanta 26-17.

An added element to the game was the fact that the two teams had to overcome slippery conditions, resulting from Saturday afternoon’s Washington Capitals game at the Verizon Center. The matchup between the Caps and Boston Bruins pushed back the Wizards’ start time by an hour, and yet players from both Washington and Atlanta commented that the floor was slippery and could have caused player injury.

“Everywhere was slippery and to be honest we were scared to make a move,” Wall said. “The situation with Trevor [Ariza] I mean he could have torn a groin or anything. So at certain times you’d see certain guys just start to fall and slide and it was getting worse and worse so I don’t know, they didn’t fall the first half but we did the second half.”

Washington Wizards Game Wrap 34: He’s Back; Wall Puts on Show in Win

It was a triumphant return for John Wall, who posted 14 points, two rebounds, four assists and multiple highlight reel plays in his return off the bench Saturday night against the Atlanta Hawks.

Oh, and the Washington Wizards won their second game in a row, 93-83, but who really cares? John Wall.

Washington, D.C. waited almost four months for the return of their former first overall pick. The third year guard out of Kentucky is arguably one of the best creators in the league and after seeing the way rookie Bradley Beal has played since the middle of December, you can imagine many were licking their lips to see them on the court together. Well, Wall had one thing to say to anyone watching tonight.

“Ah, yeah [‘I’m Back’] is what I was saying the whole time ,” Wall said following the game. “To anybody, I was just happy to be playing basketball so whoever was in my way that is what I was saying.”

There certainly were not a lot of people in Wall’s way for part of the night, as he made several cuts to the basket for layups and helped make space for other players on the court. With him back, Martell Webster says the team plays totally different.

“Did you see what he … it’s like he parted the Red Sea out there. He [was] telling everybody to spread out and that court [was] wide open, you could have a picnic in there,” Webster said. “He completely changes the dynamics of this team.”

Wall was clearly the story and he is most likely going to make the SportsCenter top-1o at least once, but there are two plays that stick out from his outing.

The best is by far a dish Wall had to Beal who put on some Moon Shoes to launch for a huge “show me” jam putting the Wizards up 27-17 towards the end of the first quarter. His second best play of the night came when he threw a behind-the-back pass to Trevor Ariza that made it 93-81 and really sealed the game for the Wizards.

Those are highlight plays though, the most impressive ones for Wall all came in the fourth. The first when he hit a reverse layup to send the Verizon Center crowd into a frenzy, the second when he did an absolute ankle-breaking crossover on a drive down the lane for a lay-in. Those are impressive, solely for understanding the injury he is coming off of. It is the crossover specifically, that shows he is close to completely healthy.

“I think about another week, a couple more practices, a couple more games,” Wall said about when he will be fully healthy. “Right now I feel like I have jiggly legs, so its tough. I got them underneath me [in the fourth]. [I] just [need to] keep taking caring of my body and get into better shape.”

Despite his electric comeback, Wall was not the best player on his team. That honor goes to Beal, who had ice in his veins several times throughout the evening, including when he followed up his huge dunk with a clutch jump shot. Beal finished with 16 points, tied with AJ Price for the team lead. Webster also had a strong game with 15 points of his own, although he did miss four free throws.

The team played well as a whole though start to finish.

“That good feeling of playing a really complete game,” Head Coach Randy Wittman said about the win. “Obviously we’ve always talked about ups-and-downs in a game and we of course had them here but we didn’t have any lasting bad spells.”

The lack of droughts is what helped them to their first winning streak of the year, even if Wittman says it takes three games to make it a winning streak. Washington has a chance to make it just that, three in a row, when they welcome the Orlando Magic to the Verizon Center on Monday. Of course, at the risk of sounding cliche, the real story Monday is seeing what other magic Wall can make in his second game of the year.

Washington Wizards Game Wrap 22: Crawford, Beal put forth valiant efforts as Wizards fall to Atlanta, 100-95

Despite Jordan Crawford’s triple double, the Washington Wizards (3-19) lost in yet another nail-biter, this time to the Atlanta Hawks (15-7) in overtime by a score of 100-95.

Tuesday night’s game marked the third of four meetings between the two teams this season but, in spite of any familiarity factor, the Wizards failed to find the formula for shutting down Atlanta. As a result, the Hawks are a perfect 3-0 against the Wizards this season.

“I wake up every morning to make sure the sky is up there, that it’s not falling in on me,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said after the loss in regards to Washington’s 3-19 record. “Trust me, this has not been fun. We’re continuing to fight. We’re going to continue to try again.”

On the bright side, a large fraction of the 15,123 in attendance at the Verizon Center seemed to have fun, at least during portions of the night.

After all, Jordan Crawford tallied a season-high 27 points, as well as 11 rebounds and 11 assists. Bradley Beal earned another 17 points and five rebounds, and Earl Barron tacked on an additional 14 boards and four blocked shots for Washington. To add to that, the Wizards allowed Nene 24 minutes of playing time – four more minutes than the limit set for him due to his left foot injury.

However, the end result was an all-too-familiar tale for Wizards fans.

While the Wizards shot 52.9% from the field in the first quarter, they also allowed the Hawks to net 28 points.

Yet, things continued to click for Crawford, Beal and company. Trailing 35-34, Emeka Okafor – who otherwise had a sub-par night – bounced to Crawford, who then managed a picture-perfect layup to put the Wizards on top. Almost more importantly than the go-ahead shot itself was the obvious momentum change that occurred as the Wizards moved the ball quickly – and with much-needed precision – in the quarter.

Although the Wizards soon forfeited the lead, they kept it within six at the buzzer to end the half.

Trailing 52-46 in the third, Crawford continued to light up the court. He scrambled ahead of the Hawks’ defense in time to pitch it to Martell Webster for the alley oop to make it 52-48 Hawks. Then, Crawford returned the lead to Washington by tacking on eight more points via a jump shot and two stellar three-pointers.

All tied up at 58 points apiece, Beal drove for the net but, instead, found Josh Smith, who blocked the shot. Beal collided with Smith and hit the hardwood with such force, he remained on the floor for several moments before walking off the court to eventually head to the locker room. After the game, Beal noted that he had been administered a test for a concussion and passed, allowing him to return off the bench in the fourth quarter.

Immediately after the collision, however, Jeff Teague sank a three-pointer and then tore through the Wizards’ defense for a driving dunk before Smith added a layup of his own to give the Hawks a 65-58 cushion.

With the Wizards trailing just 74-73 in the fourth, Beal returned to the game, despite showing signs of pain on a few occasions as he pressed his hand to his back. His presence, nonetheless, was a welcomed sight as he and Crawford kept things close in the final minutes of regulation.

But, the Wizards had to battle to overcome missed opportunities. By the end of the night, the only player with a plus/minus on the positive side for the Wizards was Nene with +9, which meant the defense had to come up big – and for some time, it did. Offensively, the Wizards kept good movement on the ball, controlled the pace throughout much of the game and managed crucial chase-downs to maintain possession.

“The way we play, you would think – giving ourselves a fighting chance in all of these games – that [our 3-19] record should be flipped,” said Martell Webster after the game. “But, the reality is what it is. We got to continue to grind and continue to work together and fight for one another.”

And, fight they did.

With seven minutes left to go, Beal managed a steal off Josh Smith, but the Wizards struggled to find the net. However, they communicated well on the court and tossed to one another, tallying rebound after rebound until nearly a full minute later when Crawford finally found the net – from 26 feet away – to put the Wizards up 82-80.

If any one play killed hope for a Wizards’ win in regulation, however, it was Beal’s personal foul with just under five minutes left, which allowed Louis Williams to shoot – and sink – three free throws. Although the Wizards came back to tie it, the Hawks maintained momentum and, with 43 seconds left, Williams himself shot a picture-perfect three. Not 20 seconds later, Barron – of all people – tied it for the Wizards, and the Hawks failed to nail down a shot to end the game in regulation.

Unfortunately for Washington, the Wizards didn’t continue to carry the momentum of the game beyond the first 48 minutes. Beyond a free throw from Nene and a jumper by Barron in overtime, the Wizards trailed throughout the five extra minutes of playing time before falling to the Hawks, 100-95.

The Wizards will travel to Orlando, where they will face the Magic Wednesday at 7:00p.m.

%d bloggers like this: