October 21, 2020

WIZARDS: Washington Wizards Partner with Special Olympics

Group photo (Photo Courtesy of Washington Wizards)

Wizards Girls (Photo Courtesy of Washington Wizards)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In support of the Special Olympics’ fourth annual “Spread the Word to End the Word” awareness day, Washington Wizards players Andray Blatche, Jordan Crawford, Rashard Lewis and Nick Young attended a basketball game featuring athletes from Special Olympics Unified basketball teams on Tuesday, March 6, at St. Coletta of Greater Washington Gynamsium. Blatche and Lewis served as celebrity coaches while Crawford and Young served as referees. The Wizard Girls, G-Man and the Secret Service Dunkers were also be in attendance and perform at halftime.

Fans attending the Wizards game against the Lakers on March 7 were encouraged to sign a banner pledging their commitment to “Spread the Word to End the Word.” The banner, which will also be signed by the entire Wizards team, will be presented to St. Coletta of Greater Washington.

The Washington Wizards are committed to the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and will focus on the following five pillars to maximize its impact on the community:  education and scholarship, hunger and homelessness, military and veteran’s affairs, pediatric health and fitness and youth basketball.

For more information on how to get involved with Special Olympics in Washington D.C., please visit http://www.specialolympicsdc.org/

Spread the Word to End the Word is an ongoing effort by Special Olympics, Best Buddies and their supporters to raise the consciousness of society about the dehumanizing and hurtful effects of the word “retard(ed)” and encourage people to pledge to stop using the R-word. 

Special Olympics Unified Sports Program helps raise the consciousness of society about how people with intellectual disabilities should be accepted by all.  Special Olympics athletes with intellectual disabilities are paired as teammates alongside athletes without intellectual disabilities to foster an environment of acceptance for all.  The athletes with and without disabilities playing as teammates at Coletta school will demonstrate why it is important to take the R-word pledge.

The campaign, created by youth, is intended to engage schools organizations and communities to rally and pledge their support at www.r-word.org and to promote the inclusion and acceptance of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

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.

Wizards start strong, stumble in second half against the Kings, 115-107

The Sacramento Kings have a lot in common with the Washington Wizards: dollops of young talent but equal parts inconsistency. Both were on display Wednesday night as the Wizards again squandered a big first half lead before falling to a road-weary Kings team 115-107.

The Kings were in the last of a six-game Eastern swing, and were able to muster just enough defense to pull out their first win of the trip. John Wall’s near triple double (21 points, 11 assists, 9 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 blocks and 5 turnovers) and Jordan Crawford’s hot shooting (32 points on 12-for-19 from the field) weren’t enough, as the Wizards gave up 96 shots (12 above Sacramento’s average, third highest in the league) and 18 offensive rebounds. [Read more…]

Wizards complete West Coast swing, get burned by Suns 104-88

The Washington Wizards finished their five-game road trip on Monday night, this time with a loss to the Phoenix Suns, 104-88.

They were looking to come home to Washington with a winning record that started in Detroit and moved out West.

Sadly, that would not happen as the Wizards were competitive in the game throughout the third quarter; however, the Suns (14-19) just utterly dominated in that period, outscoring the Wizards in embarrassing fashion – 32 to 13.

What was a close game after halftime would immediately become a laugher for the Suns. For much of the year, the Wizards (7-25) have been inconsistent, and at times showing cohesion, plus flashes of brilliance.

However, the problems that have plagued the Wizards all season against stronger opponents manifested itself in that time frame.

The Wizards held their own, as they took a 55-54 lead with 8:12 remaining off a Trevor Booker jumper and free throw; however, things fell apart afterwards – quickly.

The Suns used an inexplicable 31-6 run to dispose of their opponents. After Booker’s shot, they scored 16 consecutive points and just rolled from there. By then, the game was over.

The Wizards, who had been passing the ball well all night, just stopped. Players were missing shots, botching basic fundamental items, and that in turn, buried them.

The Wizards were behind 81-65 at the start of the fourth quarter, and despite hustling a bit in the final period, it was for naught.

“They got on a run, and we made some bad decisions. They took advantage of it.”, said Jordan Crawford — who had 20 points off the bench.

He added, “When you get down I think everybody tries to be the hero. I think that cost us. We’re always right there, up by one or down by one and something happens. We’ve got to find a way to stop teams from making a run. “

John Wall also shared his thoughts on Washington’s breakdown in the third quarter.

“We stopped playing as a team; we stopped moving the ball. We took tough shots. With a team that gets out and goes it gets the crowd into it – they can spark a big lead and they did. “

He added, “We weren’t making shots and that made it tough in our zone and they made a lot of shots. We put ourselves in that situation and the only way to get out of it is to play as a team and try to get stops. We weren’t doing the little things to help us.”

For the Wizards, Booker had 16 points and 8 rebounds in the losing effort. Wall had 10 points, along with six rebounds and six assists.

Nick Young only had six points on the night on 3-of-13 shooting. As well, he missed all four of his three-point attempts.

Phoenix’s Marcin Gortat had 20 points; meanwhile, Steve Nash scored 12 points and had 11 assists. Channing Frye had 19 points and 11 rebounds.

However, the loss on Monday did not sit well with Wizards coach Randy Wittman. They have now lost three straight games on their road trip and he expressed his thoughts loud and clear on his team’s effort.

“We became selfish. We were up one and go on a spree of the most selfish basketball I’ve seen since I’ve taken over.”

He added, “I’ve got to find the right people to find the right way to play. But I’m not letting that slip back in.”

After finishing 2-3 on their road trip, the Wizards close out the first half of their season at home versus the Sacramento Kings Wednesday night.

Wizards Run out of Gas in LA, Fall to the Clippers 102-84

Less than two weeks ago the Washington Wizards were embarrassed by the Los Angeles Clippers 107-81 at the Verizon Center, losing to a team that had just flown cross country to start a six game road swing. In their first game back at the Staples Center, the Clippers were able to fight off a considerably feistier Wizards squad, eventually pulling away for a 102-84 win.

Blake Griffin had 23 points and 15 boards, Caron Butler had 21 points while hitting 5 of 7 from the three point arc, and Chris Paul handed out nine assists to go with his 16 points

John Wall had 18 points, 11 assists and 6 rebounds, and JaVale McGee had 18 points but only five rebounds for the Wizards, who snapped their first win streak of the season.

Butler started off hot against his former team, scoring 11 points on perfect shooting in the first quarter. But Wall hit an outside jumper early on that allowed him to be effective both driving and passing, notching four points and four assists in the game’s first nine minutes.

Along with improved interior defense by Trevor Booker and JaVale McGee, the Wizards were able to avoid the slow starts that have doomed them against good teams in the past, staying within a score for most of the first quarter.

Despite celebrating their homecoming the Clippers played carelessly throughout the first half—something unexpected from a team lead by a consummate PG in Paul. Back-to-back traveling violations early in the second quarter gave the team five in 14 game minutes and allowed the Wizards to take a 27-25 lead with 8:47 remaining in the half.

While both squads played sloppily at times, they were also both active defensively. They combined for numerous spectacular rejections—several of which did not factor in to the teams’ six first half blocks due to fouls. The teams also combined for 10 turnovers—despite neither team recording a steal.

Nick Young cooled significantly from his hot night in Portland, where he hit 7-8 three pointers on his way to 35 points Tuesday night. He was held to one point one 0-for-6 shooting in a sluggish first half in his hometown.

McGee paced the Wizards with 13 points on 6-for-7 shooting, many coming on powerful dunks. Jordan Crawford added 12 and hit two of his three attempts from three point range.

The Clippers were able to take a 50-47 lead into the half, due in part to their 17 second chance points on nine offensive rebounds.

The second half saw continued defensive intensity by both teams. While Griffin ran roughshod on Washington’s big men in their last meeting, Booker made him work for every inch on the block this time around. The constant contact frustrated the Clippers big man, culminating in several heated conversations with the referees.

Washington fell behind by seven on a botched play four minutes into the third quarter, when a near turnover by Paul turnover became a wide open three pointer for Caron Butler that made it 56-49. Just as the Clippers looked poised to pull away, the Wizards went on an 11-2 run. Young hit two three pointers over that stretch, the second of which gave the Wizards the lead.

Booker was forced out of the game with his fourth foul toward the end of the Washington run, and rookie Jan Vesely was forced into duty guarding Griffin. He was out-muscled on several consecutive possessions, giving up four points and accruing two quick fouls that sent him to the bench and brought Rashard Lewis into action.

With an extra shooter on the floor, Young was able to free up for an open three that tied the score at 66. From there the Wizards went cold, coming away empty on eight straight possessions to end the third and giving the Clippers a 74-66 lead.

With Booker and McGee on the bench to start the fourth the Wiz made two quick baskets, and Wall’s second long jumper of the game brought them to within 75-72 with 10:12 to play. A three pointer by ex-Wizard Randy Foye gave the Clippers some breathing room, and his two free throws on the next possession extended the lead back to eight.

The Wizards could never quite get over the hump from there. After two Wall free throws cut into the lead, the Wizards turned the ball over with a chance to trim the deficit to four. Instead the Clippers got a three pointer late in the shot clock on the ensuing possession for their biggest lead of the game, 83-74.

Another Foye three pointer gave him 10 fourth quarter points and increased the Clippers lead 88-76 with 6:56 left.

Despite several opportunities to erase the advantage, the Wizards were repeatedly whistled for infractions—including a lane violation on a missed Griffin free throw when the game was slipping out of reach. The team was clearly feeling the effects of a back-to-back, allowing the Clippers to win going away in a game that was hotly contested for all but the final eight minutes.

The Wizards continue their 5 game road swing Friday in Salt Lake City before finishing Monday night in Phoenix.

Wizards can’t hold on after golden start, dropped by Nuggets 108-104

Coming off their biggest win of the season, the Wizards were hoping to put together consecutive wins against visiting Western Conference contenders. In the middle of a four game Eastern Conference road swing, the Nuggets were without starting center Nene (heel) and had just survived an OT battle Wednesday against the 76ers.

Despite taking a 12 point first half advantage the Wizards couldn’t hold on, falling to the Nuggets 108-104.

Al Harrington led the game with 29 points and made several key plays for the Nuggets down the stetch while shooting 10-for-16 from the field—and 5-for-8 from three-point range.

Hot three-point shooting defined the game as the teams went 21-for-47 (45 percent) from behind the arc—but the first quarter was especially torrid. Nick Young went for 17 points, including 3-for-5 from three- point land. John Wall had four assists and Shelvin Mack had five in one of the Wizards most impressive quarters of the season.

Rookie Chris Singleton also hit two from downtown, allowing the Wizards to take a 37-27 lead at the end of the first.

Jordan Crawford was the Wizards second quarter sparkplug, scoring eight points in reserve duty on an array of jumpers. But inconsistent play was again at issue, and poor defensive rebounding and missed shooting from close range allowed the visitors to claw back into the game.

Danillo Gallinari and Al Harrington kept the Nuggets competitive during the first half, combining for 24 points on 8-for-11 shooting (3-for-5 3PTs). Ty Lawson also looked the part of a breakout star, collecting 14 points and five assists on 5-for-8 shooting while battling with John Wall on both ends.

Wall had nine points, six boards and five assists at the half, but also had three turnovers.

The Wizards came out sluggish in the third, allowing the Nuggets to take the lead for stretches. But Nick Young continued his hot shooting, and the Wiz disruptive defense helped them to a 71-70 lead.

John Wall and Nick Young both drew charges during the back and forth third quarter—something that has become a point of pride for this young team—but the Wizards went cold from the field and allowed the Nuggets to build a 78-71 lead.

Andray Blatche, who had been lauded by for his energetic play in the win over Oklahoma City two nights prior, took the brunt of the crowd’s frustration. He was booed after taking long jumpers on consecutive possessions.

Despite their offensive woes the Wizards remained competitive throughout. Young’s steal with two minutes left in the quarter led to a Wall layup to cut the lead to four. A Wall to McGee alley-oop on the following possession cut the lead to 83-81. And one minute into the fourth quarter a Rashard Lewis put back tied the score, 86-86.

With the score again knotted 98-98, Afflalo was able to get a layup out of an offensive set to give the Nuggets the separation they needed. Young missed an open three pointer, and Al Harrington hit a three late in the shot clock on the next Nuggets possession to give the Nuggets some breathing room with just over a minute left in the game.

After a Jordan Crawford layup cut the score to 103-100, the Wizards had to lean on their improving defense. But despite forcing an air ball late in the shot clock, Ty Lawson corralled the offensive rebound and was able to hit the put back for a five point Nuggets lead.

John Wall’s layup with 14 seconds on the clock made it a three point game. But Afflalo was fouled in the backcourt and hit one of two free throws to keep it a two possession advantage.

A Crawford layup cut the lead to two, but again defensive breakdowns doomed the Wizards. Al Harrington was lost off an inbounds play, and wound up all alone under the basket for the final margin, 108-104.

“I didn’t see it,” Flip Saunders lamented in his postgame news conference. “I was writing up a play on the board and I turned around and [it was through the net].”

Wall finished the game one rebound shy of a triple-double, posting 13 points (4-for-17 FG), 10 assists and nine boards. He also had three blocks and four turnovers.

The Wizards look for their third win of the season Sunday when they host the Boston Celtics in a 1pm matinee.

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