April 19, 2014

Washington Wizards Game 82 Recap: Wizards Rout Celtics to Clinch No. 5 Seed in East

Photo tweeted by @DrewGooden with the caption "Headed back DC! Let's get it!!"

Photo tweeted by @DrewGooden with the caption “Headed back DC! Let’s get it!!”

Bradley Beal scored 27 points and all five of the Washington Wizards’ starters reached double-digit scoring as the Wiz Kids topped the Boston Celtics 118-102 at TD Garden Wednesday night.

With the win, the Wizards finish the regular season six games above .500 and secure the Eastern Conference’s No. 5 seed. Washington will take on the Chicago Bulls in their first playoff appearance since 2008.

At the end of the first quarter, it was clear Washington was going to run with the lead. John Wall tallied 13 of the Wizards’ 38 points in the first 12 minutes of play, and the team played like a cohesive unit counting down the days to the postseason.

The Celtics nearly matched the Wizards’ efforts in the second quarter as Chris Johnson and Jeff Green helped the team to a quick 11-3 run. With roughly six minutes left in the half, Nene and Beal hit a three each to keep the Celtics at bay and Washington took advantage of free baskets to end the half up 68-56.

The third proved a slower quarter for both teams. Washington went nearly two and a half minutes before sinking a basket and, in that time frame, Boston pulled within four points.

But, at last, it was the Wizards’ night to celebrate the end of the regular season, knowing there is still basketball left to be played.

In the final five minutes of play, Washington went on an offensive drive, shutting down the Celtics to regain a 16-point lead to end of the quarter.

Beal had a field day in the fourth, posting 12 points to help the Wizards write off the season with a 118-102 win.

The Wizards will first face the No. 4 Chicago Bulls (44-34) on the road on Easter Sunday, April 20, at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Game two will take place in Chicago on Tuesday, April 22 at 9:30 p.m. ET.

And, the Washington Wizards will return home Friday, April 28, to take on the Bulls in an ESPN primetime game at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Game four is slated for Sunday, April 27 at 1:00 p.m.

If necessary, game five will take place in Chicago on Tuesday, April 29; game six will take place in Washington on Thursday, May 1, and Game seven will send the two teams back to Chicago for a sudden-death matchup on Saturday, May 3.

Washington Wizards Game 63 Recap: Wizards run out of gas in 99-90 loss to Heat

The Washington Wizards crept in front of the Miami Heat as late as midway through the fourth quarter, but Dwayne Wade proved too much to handle as Washington fell 99-90 at American Airlines Arena Monday night.

Bradley Beal posted 18 points for the Wizards, while Martell Webster and Drew Gooden added another 17 and 15, respectively. Marcin Gortat proved a rebound king, matching his career high of 18 on the night.

Wade and LeBron James set the tone early in the night, however. In fact, less than five minutes into the game, the duo recorded 13 of the Heat’s 16 points to outpace the Wizards’ early six. But, Washington recovered a bit, thanks in part to a jumper from Gooden and Otto Porter Jr.’s only basket of the night, which brought the Wizards within eight points at the end of the first quarter.

Washington matched Miami point-for-point in the second quarter to carry their eight-point deficit into the second half of the game.

Out of the locker rooms, the Wizards – namely, Gortat – looked fired up. In fact, 10 of Gortat’s 14 points came in the third quarter alone, and the majority of them happened within the first six minutes out of the break.

Trevor Ariza and Al Harrington each hit threes in the final 2:32 of the quarter to allow Gortat the tying shot.

But, whatever worked for Washington in the third quarter failed to carry over into the fourth. Gooden and Webster remained on a roll, but Wade’s 13 points in the final 12 minutes of play quickly pulled Miami back in front.

Trailing by just one point with 5:54 remaining, the Heat called a timeout; afterwards, they went on a 12-0 run to silence the Wizards’ offense.

Beal and Webster each hit late 26-footers to help Washington hit the 90-point mark, but the Heat held on to win it 99-90.

With the loss, the Wizards are now 33-30 and 17-15 on the road.

Washington Wizards Game 61 Recap: Ariza, reserves lead Wizards past Jazz

Trevor Ariza posted 26 points and five rebounds, and Bradley Beal added another 22 and five, respectively, to help the Washington Wizards to a 104-91 win over the Utah Jazz at the Verizon Center Wednesday night.

But, to add to their efforts, Wizards head coach Randy Wittman called upon what he referred to as the team’s “AARP group.” As such, by the end of the night, 37-year-old Andre Miller, 34-year-old Al Harrington and 32-year-old Drew Gooden played a combined 53 minutes, during which they posted a total 22 points and 11 assists.

“You can see it each day whether it is in practice or out here on the floor, they are getting their legs under them more and more each day,” Wittman said of Miller and Harrington. “I thought Dre [Andre Miller] came in and battled. Obviously, we know he is capable when he gets into shape to make that 18-foot jump shot that he made tonight. Al [Harrington] obviously stretches the floor for us, at that four spot that opens and creates driving lanes for John [Wall], Brad [Beal] and those guys. Dre just does his steady self. The numbers aren’t going to wow you, but he just controls that group out there.”

Fortunately for the Wizards, the reserve corps didn’t need to “wow.” Washington outscored the Jazz in all but the third quarter, and they maintained a comfortable lead for the greater portion of the night.

In fact, once Ariza hit his second of four three-pointers on the night, the Wizards were already off to a nine-point lead with 4:05 remaining in the first quarter.

In the second quarter, the reserves helped pad Washington’s lead.

Beal led off the quarter with a floating jump shot fed by Miller. Not two minutes later, Gooden made back-to-back baskets before Harrington laid one in to help Washington back to a 10-point lead, up 36-26 with 8:30 remaining in the half.

Gooden added two more baskets in the quarter before the momentum shifted back to Beal and Ariza. At halftime, Washington held onto a 54-44 lead.

“The usuals” dominated in the third quarter. Beal kicked things off for the Wizards with back-to-back threes and John Wall added a couple baskets to keep Washington afloat.

In the fourth quarter, however, the reserves showed they still had some fight. Miller drove for an early layup before Harrington hit a fadeaway jumper.

With 6:39 remaining, Harrington dazzled with a slam dunk that restored the Wizards’ double-digit lead and put a smile on Beal’s face.

“I started laughing a little bit,” Beal said. “[Harrington] was energized. I told him he should’ve dunked a couple in the first half and he said, ‘Alright I’ll make up for it.’ He gave us one in the second half and you just thought that it was the end of the game the way he dunked it. That’s a great momentum play for him, to actually see him be able to get up like that.”

The win marks the Wizards’ seventh in their past eight games, dating back to Feb. 19. Washington is now three games above .500 and 16-15 at home, but they will face Milwaukee and Miami on the road before returning home Mach 12.

Washington Wizards Game 56 Recap: Wall’s 21 points help Wizards top Cavaliers

When John Wall and Kyrie Irving go head-to-head, even a contest between two teams struggling to stay in playoff talks can be billed as a marquee matchup.

On Sunday night, however, Wall’s performance topped Irving’s as the Wizards’ point guard posted 21 points, nine assists and three rebounds to help Washington a 96-83 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena.

Bradley Beal and Trevor Ariza added 17 and 15 points, respectively, and the Wizards maintained control of the game since going on a 12-0 run halfway through the first quarter. The Cavaliers gained enough momentum to trim the Wizards’ lead to just three points by the end of the quarter, but Washington stayed a step ahead for the duration of the game.

And, it wasn’t without pomp and circumstance. [Read more...]

Washington Wizards Game 53 Recap: On the heels of the All-Star break, Wizards suffer loss to Raptors

If the Washington Wizards were looking to set the stage for the remainder of the season, they would probably elect to erase Tuesday night’s 103-93 loss to the Toronto Raptors from memory.

John Wall led Washington’s efforts with 22 points and seven assists, and Bradley Beal added 18 points but the 25-28 squad could not slow Toronto guard Kyle Lowry. Lowry tallied 24 points and 10 assists on the night and helped Toronto in its third-quarter run.

In the first half, however, the two teams remained neck and neck. Wall posted 11 points in the first quarter and Trevor Booker closed out the quarter with a layup and jumper to help Washington match Toronto with 27 points.

In the second quarter, DeMar DeRozan helped the Raptors pull in front, and Lowry’s three-pointer with 19 seconds remaining sealed Toronto’s 55-49 lead at the half.

In the third quarter, Lowry and DeRozan ran with no looking back. Lowry posted 14 points and DeRozan added eight as Toronto powered to an 84-70 lead in 12 minutes. [Read more...]

Bradley Beal Named to 2014-16 USA Men’s Basketball Roster

USA Basketball announced today that Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal has been selected to the 2014-16 USA Basketball Men’s National Team. Beal will join 28 other players who have been selected for the 2014-2016 USA Men’s National Team pool, from which the 2014 USA World Championship Team and, if the U.S. qualifies, the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team will be selected.

Of the players currently named to the pool, 11 were a part of the 2012 U.S. Olympic basketball team.

“I am thrilled to be able to continue to compete as a member of USA Basketball and I look forward to the chance to represent my country,” Beal said. “Being part of this team is a tremendous honor and a great opportunity for me to learn and develop as a player.”

Beal has prior USA Basketball experience, as he was selected to the USA Basketball Men’s National Team Mini Camp last summer in Las Vegas and was a member of the 2010 U17 World Championship and 2009 U16 Championship teams. Beal also participated in the annual Nike Hoop Summit as part of the USA Basketball Junior National Select Team in 2011.

Additional players accepting invitations included Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, DeMarcus Cousins, Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Dwight Howard, LeBron James, Kevin Love and Derrick Rose. [Read more...]

Washington Wizards Game 35 Recap: Rockets, rain halt Wizards at home

It was described by many as the most bizarre NBA basketball game they had ever experienced. Unfortunately for the Washington Wizards, more than weather proved a hurdle in what amounted to a 114-107 loss to the Houston Rockets Saturday night.

On two separate occasions the Verizon Center roof sprung a leak, prompting embarrassing delays to a game already on-track to prove bizarre. All told, weather resulted in 57 minutes of game stoppage.

Despite this, the Wizards astonishingly overcame a 25-point third quarter deficit on an unbelievable opening drive in the fourth quarter led by unlikely hero Kevin Seraphin.

In six and a half minutes, Seraphin had added 10 points to the drive and the Wizards had jumped in front 102-97.

But, as has too often been the case, Washington ran out of gas. In fact, four and a half minutes passed before the Wizards made their next basket, but the Rockets no doubt took advantage of Washington’s failure to find the basket.

In that time-frame, James Harden recorded eight points for the Rockets and Terrence Jones added a bank shot to give Houston a 107-102 lead with just 51 seconds remaining. [Read more...]

Washington Wizards Game 34 Recap: Wiz reach new lows in 93-66 loss to Pacers

It seems whatever luck the Washington Wizards clung to on the road early this season has disappeared. Quickly.

In fact, the Wizards managed to post the lowest point total in the NBA this season in Friday night’s 93-66 loss to the Indiana Pacers. Only Bradley Beal, John Wall and Nene recorded double-digit points for Washington and, of the Wizards’ starting five, Trevor Ariza, Trevor Booker and Marcin Gortat combined for just 14 points on the night.

The Pacers, meanwhile, had an absolute field day. Indiana outrebounded Washington 61-41 to record a season-high on the boards. Five Pacers posted double-digit points and Lance Stephenson recorded his eighth double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Despite the Wizards’ poor offense, Washington kept Indiana in check through the first quarter. Nene followed a Martell Webster jumper with a timely hook shot to help the Wizards match the Pacers’ 18-18 through 12 minutes.

By halfway through the second quarter, however, things began to fall apart for the 16-18 Wizards. The Pacers’ C. J. Watson and Roy Hibbert hit back-to-back threes to make it 34-26 Indiana with just under six minutes remaining in the half.

The Wizards bounced back to pull back within three, but their inability to sink free throws hurt them as the Pacers ended the half up 45-37.

And, in the second half, the Wizards flat-lined.

David West capitalized on the Wizards’ misfortunes with one basket after another in the third quarter, including a dunk just five minutes in to bring the Pacers to a quick 16-point lead. Indiana tacked on two more when Paul George one-upped West with a monster dunk of his own.

In the fourth quarter, Beal hit a three and Nene added a jumper to trim the Pacers’ lead to 12. Unfortunately, the Wizards didn’t make another basket until Kevin Seraphin made a running hook shot with just 49.8 seconds left to play.

As such, Washington scored just 29 total points in the second half, compared to Indiana’s 48. The Wizards also posted a season low field goal percentage of 32.1 after shooting 26-81 on the night. To build a list of new season lows, Washington also recorded just 13 assists and shot 9-23 for a dismal 39.1 free throw percentage.

Washington Wizards Game 32 Recap: Beal’s 21 points help Wizards top Charlotte

It’s official. As the season stands now, the 15-and-17 Washington Wizards have earned more wins on the road than at the Verizon Center.

The latest road victory – a 97-83 win over the Charlotte Bobcats (15-21) Tuesday night – featured a stellar performance from Bradley Beal and a 17-0 third-quarter run that helped the Wizards edge the Bobcats once and for all.

In addition to Beal’s 21 points, Marcin Gortat and John Wall added 18 and 17 respectively, while Trevor Booker and Martell Webster rounded out the double-digit points club for the night. [Read more...]

Washington Wizards Game 31 Recap: Wizards drop third straight at home

Last season, the Washington Wizards no doubt reached a point at which they looked forward to avoiding long road stints. As of late, it seems the tables have turned as the squad can’t seem to find their groove at home.

The Wizards dropped their third straight game at the Verizon Center Sunday night, falling 112-96 to the red-hot Golden State Warriors. With the loss, the Wizards are now 7-8 at home and set to embark on a three-game road stint beginning Tuesday night in Charlotte.

Despite a sluggish first quarter, the Wizards pulled things together before halftime, largely on the backs of Nene and John Wall.

Golden State’s Andrew Bogut and Andre Iguodala helped prevent the Wizards from pulling in front for long as the two took advantage of free baskets and Washington’s missed shots. As such, the two teams entered halftime tied 58-58.

Before the end of the third quarter, however, Washington endured plenty of boos from its own fan base. The Warriors tallied 13 points before Washington made its first basket of the half – a long three from Wall.

 By the time Nene made the Wizards’ second shot of the third quarter, Washington trailed Golden State 77-63.

In fact, the two shots marked the Wizards’ only baskets until Martell Webster sank one with little more than two minutes remaining in the quarter. Otto Porter Jr. made two free throws before Jan Vesely and Nene combined for six points, but Washington entered the fourth quarter with a seemingly insurmountable 92-73 deficit.

“I thought we were pretty energized in the first half,” Wizards head coach Randy Wittman said after the game. “Both teams played at a pretty high level. We’re leaving it somewhere in the locker room and not bringing it out, and they [Golden State] did. They played two halves, we played a half. It’s playing through our adversity at the offensive end, we’ve got to learn.”

Wall and Nene each led the Wizards’ scoring efforts with just 14 points apiece. Although Webster and Marcin Gortat each recorded double-digit points, Washington could do little to make up for the 26 points tallied by Golden State’s Klay Thompson.

“I think sometimes we take it for granted the skills we have, and what we are capable of doing as a team, and we let other teams come in and just take our house from us,” Beal said. “That is something we have to stay away from, and we got to protect this first, and now we have to put this behind us and try to get games on the road now.”

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