January 30, 2015

Washington Wizards Game 27 Review: Rose, Bulls knock off Wiz at home

In a premier point guard matchup between the Washington Wizards’ John Wall and the Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose, Rose scored 25 as the Bulls defeated the Wizards, 99-91, Tuesday night at the Verizon Center in Washington. Wall led four starters that scored in double-digits with 18, while Pau Gasol contributed 18 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal and 2 blocks to the Bulls’ winning effort.

Washington is now 19-8 overall, including a 13-4 record at Verizon Center this season.

“You know it just didn’t feel like we got in any kind of rhythm offensively all game,” coach Randy Wittman said. “The comfort level of getting in a rhythm. At the start the game especially, we got off, missed a lot of good shots, missed some layups and again I thought in the first half the 50-50 balls killed us again.”

The Wizards last held the lead at 20-18 just before the end of the first quarter, but it was almost all Chicago after that. When Rose stretched the Bulls’ lead out to 86-75 with 6:22 left in the game, it ignited a 12-0 Wizards run — keyed by 10 points by Wall. It was the Wizards’ last lead at 87-86 with 3:44 left in the game before the Bulls put them away for good with an 8-0 run.

“I just don’t think we could get over the hump as a team,” center Marcin Gortat said. “I had a lot of shots but most of them were tip-ins and put-backs. I’ve been missing a lot of shots on the outside. It just was not a good game overall for everybody. We were pretty close, we had decent defense but we just could not get over the hump.”

Gortat had his 10th double-double of the season with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

The win was the Bulls’ fourth straight. The win also made Rose 5-0 head-to-head against Wall. This is the first time this season the Wizards have lost two straight at home.

Washington Wizards Game 24 Review: Wiz down Wolves to go 12 games over .500


The Washington Wizards defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves, 109-95, Tuesday night at the Verizon Center in Washington. John Wall tied a career high with 17 assists to go along with 21 points while Rasual Butler led the Wizards with 23 points off the bench. It was the Wizards’ fifth straight victory.

Washington (18-6) is now 12 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 1978-79 season when they finished the campaign at 54-28.

“I think [Wall] still has the best ahead of him,” coach Randy Wittman said of his soaring superstar. “I want him to keep driving. He’s really been understanding that there’s nothing to rest on here. We have a chance, and he has an opportunity from a leadership standpoint, to continue to push this team. I want him to continue that, I don’t want him to take his foot off the pedal and be satisfied.”

Thaddeus Young led Minnesota with 29 points. Georgui Dieng contributed 12 points along with a team-high 12 rebounds, while Shabazz Muhammad scored 21 points off the bench. [Read more…]

Washington Wizards Game 21 Review: Beal Beats Buzzer, Magic


The Washington Wizards returned to the site of their first victory of the season and left with a similar result, defeating the Orlando Magic at the buzzer in Orlando, 91-89.

With 0.8 seconds left, it seemed as though the Wizards would be heading to overtime for the second straight game. That is, until head coach Randy Wittman drew up a buzzer-beating lob-pass in the huddle during a timeout.

As if it was drawn up in the dirt, Bradley Beal (9 points) rolled to the basket and looked back to Andre Miller for the pass. Miller placed the inbounds-lob-pass with precision accuracy and Beal laid it up and in before the backboard lit up in red. The Wizards stormed the floor in victory, their 15th of the season. [Read more…]

Washington Wizards Game 20 Review: Wall leads Wiz over Celts in double OT

John Wall, playing through a broken heart, scored 26 points with 17 assists and the Washington Wizards beat the Boston Celtics 133-132 in double-overtime.

In a post-game interview, Wall broke down while dedicating the win to 6-year-old Miyah Telemaque-Nelson, who recently lost her battle with cancer. Wall befriended the youngster in the spring.

Coach Randy Wittman addressed the situation after the game. “Yeah, it was a tough day for [Wall]. He had a relationship with the young lady that passed away. To see a little girl like that is tough. I thought he handled it well, but he was hurting at the end.”

Paul Pierce had 28 points and seven rebounds and Marcin Gortat added 21 points and 12 boards.

The Wizards (14-6) led by three with 16.4 seconds left in regulation after Kris Humphries made 1 of 2 from the line, but Evan Turner shook loose for a 3-pointer with 0.9 seconds left to force overtime. They trailed by five with 1:05 left in the first OT, but Gortat made a pair of free throws and Pierce drilled a 3 with 38.9 seconds left to tie.

Jeff Green and Brandon Bass missed for Boston while Wall missed a jumper for the Wiz and the teams headed for a second overtime.

Pierce spoke of the importance of the overtime win. “It was a tough one, especially since we had such a big lead and let the lead go.  They take the lead, they go up in overtime twice.  This team [Washington] is showing a lot of characteristics of a pretty good team and we’re trying to strive for greatness.  But a lot of lessons are going to be learned even in a win.  I’m glad we were on the winning side, especially since we blew a big lead.”

In the second extra session, Wall hit a running layup and was fouled, making the and-one with 44.6 seconds left to put Washington up by one. The Wizards forced a turnover on the ensuing possession and Turner’s jumper with 0.9 left missed.

Gortat had praise for his point guard. “It was an incredible game. John [Wall] was truly amazing. I’m glad that he had a game like that. He kind of backed what I posted on Twitter a few days ago. He is definitely the top point guards in the league right now.”

Green led Boston (7-12) with 28 points. Marcus Smart had 23 while Kelly Olynyk had 19 points and 11 boards.

Washington Wizards Game 17 Review: Wiz beat Lakers for 4th straight time

Bradley Beal had 27 points, on 11 of 19 shooting including three 3-pointers, and the Washington Wizards defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 111-95 at Verizon Center.

Beal also had seven assists as the Wizards (12-5) bounced back from a slow start — they trailed by six after the first period — to easily take care of the woeful Lakers squad.

“We’ve got to give some credit to L.A. [Los Angeles],” coach Randy Wittman said about the early deficit. “They shot the heck out of it in the first half and that was really our focus at halftime after looking at some stuff at the half from our defensive stuff.  We challenged a lot of shots that they made and my point to them at half was we can’t get discouraged by that.”

Beal credited an increased defensive pressure that led to the turnaround on offense.

“It was getting stops,” Beal said. “Whenever we get off to leads like that and whenever we excel in the open court and whenever we just get easy looks, it’s always off our defense. It was also us moving the ball on offense and taking what the defense gives us and basically getting the shots that we want. At the end of the day, we wouldn’t be in the position we are in if it wasn’t for our defense.”

John Wall had 17 points and 15 assists for the Wiz, while Marcin Gortat had 21 points and 11 rebounds, Paul Pierce and Rasual Butler added 14 points and Kris Humphries grabbed 20 boards.

Kobe Bryant scored 29 points and Nick Young added 21 for Los Angeles (5-14).

Washington Wizards Game 14 Review: Wiz Fall in Rematch With Cavs


For the second time in six days, the Washington Wizards took the floor against the Cleveland Cavaliers, dropping the rematch Wednesday night in Cleveland, 113-87.

The second of four games that these two rivals will play this year was a mirror opposite of their first matchup in D.C. last Friday night, which the Wizards (9-5) won in an impressive fashion. [Read more…]

Washington Wizards Game 13 Review: Streaking Hawks top Wiz


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 12 Review: Pierce leads Wiz over Bucks


The Washington Wizards stormed back from a 15-point first half deficit to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks, 111-100, Saturday night at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee. The win was the Wizards’ second in a row following their home victory over Cleveland. The loss was the Bucks’ second consecutive after a three-game winning streak.

Paul Pierce led the Wizards with 25 points. John Wall scored 19 points and added nine assists, while Bradley Beal scored 17 points off the bench. Brandon Knight led the Bucks with 27 points, while Giannis Anteokounmpo contributed with 20 points.

After opening the game tied at four, the Bucks seized the lead, topped off at 42-27 with 5:51 left in the second quarter on a Jerryd Bayless dunk after a Jared Dudley steal. The Wizards rallied to tie the game at 54 with 6:06 left in the third quarter on a Pierce three-pointer.

The Wizards held a 4-point lead going into the fourth quarter at 74-70. The Wizards proceeded to break the game open, with their largest lead being 16 at 97-81 with 6:06 left in the game when Kris Humphries tipped in Beal’s miss.

Ersan Ilyasova brought the Bucks as close as 104-97 with 2:13 left in the game, but Khris Middleton missed a layup that would have cut the deficit to 5. Pierce hit a jumper to stretch the lead back out to 9, then Wall finished off the Bucks with a steal and a dunk.

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


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 Game 7 Review: Wizards defeat Pacers for second time in four days

The Washington Wizards defeated the Indiana Pacers, 97-90, on Saturday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The Wizards beat the Pacers for the second time in four days after winning in overtime in Washington on Wednesday night.

Behind Nene’s 15 first quarter points, the Wizards jumped out to a 32-14 lead at the intermission. The Pacers never led in this game. The biggest lead the Wizards had was 56-35 coming right after halftime on Nene’s last basket of the game.

Behind Solomon Hill’s 28 points. the Pacers chipped away at the lead in the third quarter. They closed to within 3 at 81-78 with 8:17 left in the fourth quarter. The Pacers ended the game missing 8 out of their last 10 shots, allowing the Wizards to pull away again.

John Wall led the Wizards with 18 points. Nene filled the stat sheet with 17 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, one steal and one block. Kevin Seraphin scored 13 points off the bench in relief of Marcin Gortat, who had gotten into early foul trouble.

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