April 19, 2021

Injury bug plagues Wizards early, Okafor out indefinitely

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced Wednesday that center Emeka Okafor will be out indefinitely after being diagnosed with a herniated C4 cervical disc.

“I have worked hard over the summer and was looking forward to the start of training camp next week, so this is a disappointing and frustrating situation for me,” said Okafor.  “But I have confidence that my teammates and coaches will be able to continue to take steps towards our goal of making the playoffs and that I will be able to do my part to help them once I return.”

After consulting with several specialists and the team doctors, Okafor will begin rehabilitation to reduce the inflammation and correct the injury.  The herniated disc was originally revealed through an MRI after Okafor experienced discomfort in his neck.

“Emeka’s professionalism and dedication to taking care of his body are among the best I have ever seen during my time in this league as a player, coach and executive and I know that he will be diligent in his efforts to return to the court as soon as possible,” said Grunfeld.  “Until then, his absence will create opportunities for other players to step up and provide the rebounding and defense that Emeka normally contributes.”

Okafor averaged 9.7 points and 8.8 rebounds in 79 games for the Wizards last season.  He missed two games due to the flu and the final game of the season with a sprained right ankle. [Read more…]

Washington Wizards Cleanout Day Audio

With the end of the NBA regular season, Thursday was “Cleanout Day” at Verizon Center for the Washington Wizards. Below are links to the final media availablity of the season for coach Randy Wittman, John Wall and the rest of the squad.

04-18-13 Randy Wittman Presser RAW 1

04-18-13 Randy Wittman Presser RAW 2

04-18-13 Randy Wittman Presser RAW 3

04-18-13 John Wall Presser RAW

04-18-13 Nene Presser RAW

04-18-13 Kevin Seraphin Presser RAW

04-18-13 Chris Singleton wMartell Webster at end Presser RAW

04-18-13 Cartier Martin Presser RAW


Washington Wizards Game 48 Postgame Audio: Wittman, Wall & more

Wednesday night, the Washington Wizards shut down Carmelo Anthony and the rest of the New York Knicks, winning 106-96 and halting the Knicks five-game winning streak.

After the game, head coach Randy Wittman praised the effort of his squad.

“I told the team afterwards, that’s what a quality NBA game is made up of, what we had tonight. We had instances where we played very well, and where they came back at us and played very well. Tonight we had instances where we didn’t put our head down.

“Our guys stayed with it the whole time.”

Forward Trevor Ariza noted the importance of the game for a team that’s struggled for consitency. “It was a big game, we gave (the fans) something to be proud of tonight. It was a good crowd for us tonight.”

For all of Wittman’s comments, plus those of Ariza, Martell Webster, Chris Singleton and John Wall, please click the links below.

02-06-13 Randy Wittman Postgame RAW

02-06-13 John Wall Postgame RAW

02-06-13 Trevor Ariza Postgame RAW

02-06-13 Chris Singleton Postgame RAW

02-06-13 Martell Webster Postgame RAW

Wizards fight back from big first half deficit, fall short again versus Magic 105-98

The Orlando Magic have had the Washington Wizards number over the past three seasons. Wednesday night at the Verizon Center was much more hotly contested than the team’s previous match-ups in Orlando this season, but despite having a seven point second half lead and battling back from another double digit first half deficit the Magic held on to down the Wizards, 102-95.

The Wizards haven’t beaten the Magic since February 5th of 2010.

Ryan Anderson had 23 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Magic, who also shot an impressive 15-36 from three point range.

John Wall led the Wizards with 33 points (13-for-25 from the field), four assists, thre boards, two steals and only one turnover, while Jordan Crawford pitched in 18 points (14 in the third quarter) and led the Wizards with five assists.

Washington featured a new starting lineup that had Nick Young and JaVale McGee on the bench in favor of Jordan Crawford and Kevin Seraphin. McGee had started every game for the team this season, and Young had started 32 straight. It was Seraphin’s first start of the season and only the second of his career. It continued a post-All Star break trend reapportioning minutes to bench players.

Offense was hard to come by with their leading scorer and rebounder on the bench. The Wizards only mustered four points in the game’s first five mintues. But McGee seemed to get the message, playing great defense on his first two possessions against Howard and hitting a foul line jumper on offense.

The Magic then went on a 11-0 run to build a 25-8 lead, including two and-ones from Howard. They led 27-11 when the Wizards went on a 7-0 run to end the quarter, with five of those points coming from a motivated McGee.

The Wizards cut the lead to 40-38 on Wall’s first assist of the night, a three pointer from Roger Mason with two minutes to go in the half. But the Magic scored the next five points, and were able to escape to the locker room up 46-41.

Washington had 14 second chance points off of eight offensive rebounds to help them keep pace. Wall (13 points) and Jason Richardson (12) were the only double digit scorers in the half, as each team featured a balanced attack.

Jordan Crawford hit three quick long jumpers to start the second half, giving the Wizards a 47-46 lead, their first of the game. Wall’s layup in transition gave the Wizards a 60-53 lead, but the Magic went on a 5-0 run. They would take the lead minutes later on a JJ Reddick three-pointer that made it 68-67.

Orlando extended their lead to 79-70 on back to back threes from Ryan Anderson and Chris Duhon, capping an 11-0 run that took them into the fourth quarter. The Wizards responded with back to back baskets to pull within five, but Glen Davis scored four straight to keep the home team at a distance.

Wall responded with six straight points, two on a finger roll layup before converting on back to back jumpers. Wall had all 10 of the Wizards points in the quarter at that point, and a Mo Evans three pointer knotted the score at 83.

As they’d done all night, the Magic responded with some hot shooting beyond the arc. They hit back to back threes to regain a six point advantage.

The teams traded baskets after several hard fought possessions, culminating in a confrontation between Trevor Booker and Richardson on a rebound. The energy made for exciting basketball, but the Wizards were unable to cut into the lead. They also squandered an opportunity when Wall fouled Anderson while shooting a desperation three pointer at the tail end of the shot clock. Anderson made all three and gave the Magic a 95-87 lead.

McGee and Young were nowhere to be seen at the game’s most critical juncture, with the two accumulating 16 and 19 minutes respectively—and none down the stretch. Asked if he understood why Randy Wittman had him on the bench, McGee quizzically replied “I can’t say I do, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out sooner or later.”

Despite improved defense on Howard Orlando’s rebounders and outside shooters were able to keep the Wizards at bay, and the game’s final minute was hardly contested compared with the previous 23.

Washington has two days off before they face the Cleveland Cavaliers at home on Saturday, where Andray Blatche may be available once again for the first time since January 28th. “Saturday will feel like Christmas for me,” he was quoted as saying earlier in the day. We’ll see if Wizards fans feel the same.

Rose-less Bulls use impressive defense to defeat Wizards

Fresh off its first win of the season, the Wizards almost caught a break in Chicago. Without Derrick Rose, the league MVP and Bulls team captain, it appeared to be an auspicious start to Washington’s two game road trip.

As with numerous other opportunities this season, Washington was unable to capitalize, as the Wizards set a franchise mark for offensive futility falling 78-64.  The point total was the lowest since the previous record of 65, set Dec. 13, 2002 against the New Jersey Nets.

An increasingly impressive Wizards defense wasn’t enough to beat the Rose-less Bulls, who maintained their own defensive prowess without their leading scorer. John Lucas filled in admirably for Rose (sprained toe) at point guard, putting up 25 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in the win.

JaVale McGee starred for the Wizards (1-9), ending his night with 10 points, 14 boards and five blocks—though he also committed two goal-tending violations in another uneven performance. Andray Blatche missed the contest with a shoulder injury, and his absence was notable with Kevin Seraphin forced into duty.

Flip Saunders maintained Tuesday night’s successful starting lineup, and while it didn’t get them the win it paid off on the defensive end. Chris Singleton and Trevor Booker provided much needed energy, and helped set the tone for a team increasingly cultivating its new identity.

Even without Rose the Bulls had a distinct advantage in the front court. Omer Asik (14 boards), Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah provided stout defense inside, and Luol Deng chipped in 15 rebounds, despite making only five of his 21 shots.

The Wizards continued to struggle from the field, particularly hitting jump shots. Conversely, the Bulls relied on Kyle Korver’s hot hand as they pulled away down the stretch

Korver was also able to exploit the Wizards youth and immaturity. With the Bulls up eight half way through the fourth, Korver used a hard foul to prevent Crawford from converting a fast break layup. Crawford retaliated by shoving him under the basket, and the ensuing technical foul negated an opportunity to make it a two possession game.

The Wizards were able the keep the score knotted late into the third quarter, but Korver continued to hit shots in crunch time. After a Trevor Booker jumper cut the lead to 69-64 with five minutes to go in the fourth, Korver hit a demoralizing fade-away late in the shot clock to give the Bulls a 71-64 lead. The Wizards wouldn’t score the rest of the way.

John Wall continued his struggles from the field, shooting 4-for-13 on his way to 11 points, five rebounds and eight assists. He also failed to record a steal, making it two straight after notching one in 15 consecutive games prior.

The Wizards fly to Philadelphia for a Friday tilt, and then host the Sixers the following night in the Verizon Center.

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