November 23, 2014

Washington Wizards Game 11 Review: Wiz dump Cavs on Wall’s big night

WIZARDS SEND CLEVELAND TO LOSING RECORD AFTER 11 GAMES

John Wall scored 28 points, pulled down six rebounds, had seven assists and four steals to lead the Washington Wizards to a 91-78 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers Friday night at the Verizon Center in Washington. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving led the Cavs with 22 points apiece. The Wizards are now 8-3 overall, 5-1 at home this season. The Cavs went below .500 with their third straight loss.

“He’s [Wall] our leader, man. He’s asked to carry a big load for this ball club. He’s an All-Star. He’s going to do the scoring, he’s going to do the assists, he’s going to be a defender. That is why you are going to see a lot of his jerseys in the stands,” said Wizards forward Paul Pierce.

Washington head coach Randy Wittman was forced to call a timeout with 6:36 left in the first quarter after back-to-back turnovers by Wall and Marcin Gortat led to fast break points by Anderson Varejao and LeBron James, giving the Cavs a 13-8 lead.

Immediately following the timeout, Bradley Beal came into the game for Garrett Temple, as he eases his way back into the starting lineup. Beal instantly triggered fast breaks with back-to-back steals from James and Kyrie Irving, which led to a Wall layup followed by a Wall three-point play to tie the game at 13.

Cleveland head coach David Blatt said about the causes of Cavs’ turnover problems, “Irresponsible play with the ball and bad decisions. I can think of, off the top of my head, five or six clear breaks where we didn’t finish with a shot and that is just not high-level basketball.”

James’s finger roll gave the Cavs their last lead at 21-17 with 2:40 remaining in the first quarter. The Wizards overtook the Cavs for good with a 9-0 run to close the quarter, keyed by Beal’s three-pointer bracketed by a Wall layup and 21-footer. The quarter was punctuated by Tristan Thompson’s goaltending rejection of Otto Porter’s putback with 1.8 seconds left.

The Wizards continued to build their lead into the second quarter. The Cavs called timeout on their possession after Beal’s finger roll gave the Wizards a nine-point lead at 36-27 with 7:40 left before halftime. Paul Pierce’s three-pointer extended the Wizards’ lead to 13 at 48-35. Joe Harris tried to answer with a floating runner in the lane, but was called for a charging foul. The Wizards would carry their 13-point lead into halftime at 55-42.

The Wizards’ biggest lead of the game came when consecutive 20-footers by Wall forced a Cavs timeout with 3:44 left in the third quarter, trailing by 16 at 72-56. The Cavs never mounted a serious comeback bid, not making a basket in the final 9 minutes of the game. The exclamation point came with Beal’s three-pointer with 1:25 left in the game restored a 12-point lead.

“First thing is that guys have to take a good look in the mirror and ask themselves where and how they can impact positively and try to simplify things. You have to look and see if you can make a change or two but not recreate the wheel. You have to stay in there and show grit and get a good day to gain a yard at a time,” said Blatt.

“You know, all year, it’s a long year, every time you have big emotional wins, and you come into the next game, those are the games that are trap games, and that is what I tried to tell the guys. You know those are the games that great teams win, and it feels good and hopefully we can put this win behind us and move on because we have another test on a Milwaukee team that have been playing great,” said Pierce.

Washington Wizards Add Veteran Depth With John Lucas

On Tuesday afternoon, the Washington Wizards announced the signing of veteran guard John Lucas.

The signing of the Oklahoma State product seems to be purely for depth reasons, especially with Bradley Beal expected to miss 6-8 weeks with a wrist injury. Along with Andre Miller, the Wizards now have some solid veteran depth to rely on at the guard position. [Read more…]

Washington Wizards Preseason Game 6 Recap: Wiz Lose Pierce, Fall To Hornets

PAUL PIERCE INJURES KNEE AS WIZARDS FALL TO HORNETS

Taking their first home-loss of the preseason, the Washington Wizards fell to the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night at the Verizon Center, 96-86.

For the second time this preseason, the Wizards took the floor with Charlotte. Last time they went toe-to-toe, they saw Bradley Beal go down with a wrist injury. This time around, another star left the floor early. [Read more…]

Wizards Without Beal, But No Reason To Panic

For the next 6-8 weeks, the Washington Wizards will be without their star shooting guard, Bradley Beal.

After suffering a broken wrist in preseason action against the Charlotte Hornets, Beal – who averaged 11 points in about 26 minutes in the first two preseason games – will be shut down for the next month and some change to recover from the injury. According to The Washington Post, surgery will be needed. [Read more…]

Washington Wizards Exercise Options On Bradley Beal, Otto Porter

Announced by the club Tuesday afternoon, the Washington Wizards have exercised the fourth-year option on Bradley Beal’s contract and third-year option on Otto Porter’s deal.

“Bradley and Otto are both big pieces of the core group of players that we will build around as we continue to improve our team,” said team President Ernie Grunfeld in a press release issued by the team.  “We look forward to them playing significant roles in our success both now and in the future.” [Read more…]

Washington Wizards Add Assistant Coach Howard Eisley

On Thursday afternoon, the Washington Wizards announced via a team press release that they have added Howard Eisley to their assistant coaching staff.

A 12-year pro that ended his playing career in 2006, Eisley has spent the last four years as an assistant with the Los Angeles Clippers. As a player, he averaged 6.5 points, 3.5 assists and 1.7 rebounds. [Read more…]

Why Lance Stephenson’s New Contract is Bad News for Washington Wizards

On Wednesday, Lance Stephenson finalized a deal with the Charlotte Hornets to be their shooting guard for three years and $27.5 million. While that’s great for him and the Hornets, it’s bad news for the Washington Wizards.

This coming year marks the final year in which Bradley Beal will be under his rookie contract. In 2015, Washington will have the ability to exercise a club option worth $5.6 million. If all goes according to plan, you have to believe that will happen. In other words, Beal will become a free agent in 2016 and the Wizards will most certainly be looking to bring him back. [Read more…]

Washington Wizards Rightfully Reward Randy Wittman With Three-Year Contract Extension

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

For the Washington Wizards this offseason, that is the philosophy they should stick to when maneuvering through the laundry list of decisions that face them this summer. They have several high-profile people in need of new contracts, and on Tuesday evening they checked one of them off the list. [Read more…]

Looking Back On The 2013-2014 Washington Wizards: The Dawning of a New Age in D.C.

Before the season, if you would have walked up to any Washington Wizards’ fan and told them that this team would get to Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals before it was all over, you would have been met with many wide eyes and disbelieving shaking heads. With the recent history of the franchise, it would be hard to blame them. [Read more…]

Washington Wizards Game 6 Recap: Wizards’ Playoff Run Ends in 93-80 Loss to Pacers

All the fire and energy that powered the Washington Wizards through Game 5 seemed lost Thursday night as the Wiz Kids fell 93-80 to the Indiana Pacers in an elimination game at home to end their playoff run.

Marcin Gortat came nowhere close to his career high playoff points this time around, but he did lead the Wizards’ scoring efforts with 19 points. Bradley Beal and Nene added 16 and 15, respectively, and John Wall rounded out the double-digits club with a mere 12 points as Washington’s 39.2 percent field goal percentage proved too low to pose a threat.

Indiana jumped to an early – yet surmountable – lead early in the first quarter, but Lance Stephenson and David West helped the Pacers to a 29-23 lead in the first 12 minutes of play.

The Pacers continued to tack onto their lead in the second quarter, largely with the help of nine free baskets off poorly timed Washington fouls.

The Wizards regained just a bit of momentum in the third quarter as the Gortat-Beal duo breathed life back into the offense. The two combined for the Wizards’ first eight points of the quarter in under three minutes before Nene added a free throw and Wall sank a two.

But, West continued to pester Washington with back-to-back baskets before George Hill’s three gave Indiana a 67-55 lead with 4:26 remaining in the third. Washington trimmed the deficit to 10 on free throws before Trevor Ariza and Drew Gooden added a pair of baskets to help the Wizards climb back within eight points.

For a brief moment in time, Washington actually regained the lead in the fourth by way of two Gortat free throws, a pair of baskets by Wall, and two long jumpers – including a lead-changing three-pointer – from Beal.

With the next shot, however, West regained the lead for the Pacers. From there, Indiana continued to outrun the Wizards – so much so that Washington endured a stretch of more than five minutes without a basket in the fourth. West and Stephenson took advantage of the slow-to-awaken offense to help the Pacers to their 93-80 win.

“We’re definitely disappointed,” Beal said after the game. “This loss hurts more than anything just knowing that it all just came to an end just like that. But at the same time, nobody really thought we would be this far. For us to actually make it here and for us to believe in ourselves and make Indiana earn it, we should be proud of ourselves and there’s nothing we should hang our head about.”

“Nobody expected us to be here,” Wall said. “I just want to thank God for giving me this opportunity to be here and compete as a team. Like [Beal] said, I think we got a lot of effort from a lot of teams. I think a lot of teams respect us now. We definitely made Indiana earn it. Give them a lot of credit for coming out and just giving us a lot of experience to know what it takes to win and compete, and close out games and get to the next level. We just want to say thanks to everybody that supported us, and our family, friends, the organization and definitely our fans.”

The loss makes further evident the Wizards’ playoff struggles at home. The end of their run caps off a 1-4 record at the Verizon Center – compared with a 5-1 record on the road this postseason.

“We have to look on the flip side of it and the things that we did on the road is a huge step for this team,” said Wizards head coach Randy Wittman. “There is no question you have to take care of home and that is the next step. I mean we win 44 games and we win more games on the road than we do at home. You even take a little bit of care at home and you are at 50 you are at 52 and that is the next step we got to take. Continue to be what we were on the road this year. Take care of home and continue to grow.”

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