October 20, 2019

Washington Wizards Game 16 Recap: In Kobe’s last game in DC, Wiz cannot spoil the retirement tour

(Photo by: @NBA)

(Photo by: @NBA)

VERIZON CENTER GIVES NBA LEGEND A FOND FAREWELL IN FINAL GAME IN DC

In what will be Kobe Bryant’s final game played in Washington D.C., barring a “Brett Favre moment,” the Washington Wizards were extremely grateful for everything he did for the sport in this generation. That being said, Bradley Beal was very clear that the Wizards would go to work on the third-leading scorer in league history as it was still an important game for the Wizards.

With a large contingent of Lakers and/or Kobe fans in the building, there were cheers in Verizon Center anytime he touched the ball. In another volume shooting night where Bryant was also an efficient scorer, he scored 31 points on 24 shots and  Washington could not hit big shots late, falling 108-104. [Read more…]

Washington Wizards Weekend Wrap: Wiz top Lakers but unravel against Warriors

It’s been the great mystery for the Washington Wizards (25-44) this season – how a sub-.400 team can boast wins against the Miami Heat, L.A. Clippers, New York Knicks and, now, the L.A. Lakers, yet falter against teams that fall into Washington’s category of the win/loss column.

This weekend, the Wizards showcased both the team they aspire to be and the team that lacks the firepower to stand as a contender late in March, much in part because of the losses they “should have” won, rather than a lack of upsets this season. [Read more…]

Washington Wizards Game Wrap 20: Despite Strong Performances off the Bench, Wizards Lose 102-96 to Lakers

The Washington Wizards (3-17) started off strong against the Los Angeles Lakers (10-14) Friday night, but their sluggish defense proved no match for Kobe Bryant’s 30 points and seven assists as they fell to the Lakers 102-96.

Among the 20,308 in attendance for the sold-out matchup were the Washington Nationals’ newly acquired outfielder Denard Span, former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, and Attorney General Eric Holder, who met with players in the locker room after the game. Nonetheless, while the Lakers fans in attendance reached greater decibels than loyal Washingtonians at the start of the game, the crowd seemed more evenly split later in the night as the Wizards’ offense came to life.

“I’m used to it, I’m used to it,” said Martell Webster of the out-of-town fans after the game. “I saw it in Minnesota, I saw it in Portland. [The fans] showed up, we fed off the energy. It feels good regardless, you got a packed house…They were cheering for us, and there were a lot of cheers for [the Lakers] as well. It felt good, I love the energy.”

Nevertheless, the two teams seemed uncharacteristically on par with each other in more ways than fan turnout.

In the first quarter, the Wizards hit 50 percent of their shots from the field – and the Lakers, just 52.4 percent. Trailing 8-6, the Wizards gave up a three-pointer to Chris Duhon before allowing Dwight Howard to sink a nearly effortless dunk to give the Lakers a seven-point lead. Despite nine turnovers in the quarter, the Wizards entered the second trailing just 27-25.

In a matter of seconds, Cartier Martin tied it up with a three-pointer in the second quarter. He followed through with a layup and-1 before Kevin Seraphin tacked on another two points with a big jam of his own to make it 33-27 Wizards.

Martin went on to tally 12 of his season-high 21 points off the bench in the second quarter alone to keep the Wizards within one possession, trailing 58-55 at the half. He also managed eight rebounds and two steals on the night.

“[Martin] hasn’t come out of nowhere, he’s been struggling a little bit,” said head coach Randy Wittman after the game. “He came out tonight and made it. I’ve got confidence in these guys. With [Ariza] out, he’s getting minutes. And, you just base those minutes on how the game’s flowing.”

After Webster started things off again with a three-pointer, the Lakers went on a 10-0 run to regain the lead, 68-58.

With the Wizards down 76-64, Kobe Bryant drove for a layup with Webster on his tail, but as Webster tried to defend the shot, instead, he mistakenly tipped it in, ensuring two more points for the Lakers.

After chipping away at the Lakers’ lead to trail by just 88-79, Webster made up for the tip-in by finishing a monster alley-oop worthy of this week’s top-ten highlight reel. With the crowd still on its feet, the Lakers called a timeout to slow the Wizards who were back within seven points.

With just over 5:30 left in the game, Nene sunk two free throws to bring the Wizards back within a possession. However, Dwight Howard tacked on another two points for the Lakers, who seemed to have better luck earning officiating calls than Washington.

No call seemed more questionable than Webster’s shooting foul with 4:45 remaining. The replay revealed that Webster never even came into contact with Bryant, who earned – and made – all three of the foul shouts he received to put the Lakers up 97-89.

The damage proved too much to overcome as the Wizards never again trailed by fewer than six points.

Coming off Friday’s 102-96 loss, they face no easy task as they take on the Heat in Miami Saturday night.

 

Washington Wizards stun Lakers in electrifying fashion with furious second-half rally

WASHINGTON, D.C. – It has been a long, trying season for the Washington Wizards. Last night, though they perhaps had their most thrilling, satisfying win of the season as they defeated the Los Angeles Lakers, 106-101.

Down by double digits at halftime, things looked bleak for the Wizards. However, they used a spirited second half to stun the Lakers. Roger Mason’s 14 points – and four three pointers — spurred an extended rally to send the Wizards to their ninth win of the season.

For a team that has struggled throughout the season and issues with chemistry, on Wednesday night, they played together as a team to put away a contender in the Western Conference.

“We had guys that just didn’t quit. It was evident in the third quarter and we finished hard,” commented Mason.

Before the Wizards comeback, a sold-out Verizon Center might as well have been christened Staples Center – where Lakers (23-16) play their home games – West.

The arena, which was filled with a plethora of Lakers fans, chanted “MVP” throughout the first half to support superstar Kobe Bryant – who scored 20 points in that period.

However, the crowd would witness the stunning rise of the Wizards (9-29) late in the contest, coming back from a twenty-one point deficit quickly to shut down the Laker admirers.

For Washington, Nick Young scored 19 points off the bench and had six assists – a career high for helpers. Trevor Booker chipped in with 18 points and 17 rebounds; Kevin Seraphin and Jordan Crawford each had 14 points, JaVale McGee had 10 points and 12 rebounds.  John Wall struggled on the night, only scoring four points and nine assists; however, he hit several critical free throws to help the Wizards down the stretch.

Los Angeles’ Kobe Bryant led all scorers with 30 points, but only shot 1-of-10 in the final period. Pau Gasol had 19 points and 15 rebounds. Andrew Bynum also had 19 points.

After the game, Washington interim coach Randy Wittman commented on his team’s performance.

“Start to finish, even when we got down 21, we were doing the right things, we were doing them the right way. We were doing them hard and stayed in the game. That’s all we did. Then we started making some shots and the crowd got into it.”

Nick Young added, “We came out with energy. We knew we were in a little slump but we had to pick up each other and fight. It was an amazing atmosphere tonight. We had to come out with the right attitude playing against the best team.”

The Wizards fell behind to the Lakers, 29-21 in the first quarter and did their best to stay in the game in following period. At times throughout the first half, the Wizards just seemingly could not stop the superior Lakers, and the disparity of talent between the two teams was clearly evident.

Sadly for Washington, Bryant and his Los Angeles squad would continue to roll in the second quarter. The Wizards would be plagued by mistakes, sloppy play and a porous defense and the Lakers took full advantage of the situation. The Lakers were also helped by many trips to the charity stripe.

Bryant’s long three-pointer with about a five-and-half minutes remaining in the quarter put Los Angeles up 50-35. They took as much as a seventeen point edge in the period before closing out the half up, 64-49.

However, in the second half, the Wizards stunned the Lakers in a serious way.

Metta World Peace’s three-pointer put Los Angeles up by twenty, 71-51 at the 9:27 mark, but the Wizards started to chip away at the Lakers’ advantage.  Nick Young’s three-pointer with 2:30 left in the period, brought Washington within eleven of the lead at 81-70. More importantly, it gave them some hope.

The Lakers – who seemingly dominated the entire game to that point –  inexplicably folded down the stretch.

The Wizards used a 16-3 run to stage a comeback  to finish up the third quarter. From there, that breathed life back into fans of the home team and stunned the legions of those who showed up in purple and gold.

It seemed that at that juncture that the Wizards got aggressive, played some stellar defense, tightened up their game and competed when it mattered.

Mason’s three-pointer with a little more than a minute left in the period cut their deficit to single digits, as the Wizards trailed 83-75.

The rally continued. Washington clawed all the way back to within two of Los Angeles’ advantage, 83-81 at the end of the quarter, via back-to-back layups by Booker and Young.

The Wizards’ good fortune continued in the fourth quarter as they took an 87-83 lead thanks to back-to-back three pointers by Mason with a little more than ten-and-half minutes remaining; however, the Lakers tied the game at 89 off a Matt Barnes dunk at the 8:30 mark.

After that, the two teams fought for the win. The Wizards took a 98-92 lead off another Mason three-pointer – his fourth of the game – with 4:50 left in the game.

The Lakers – with less than three minutes in the contest – fought back and took a 99-98 advantage off a Bynum layup; however, the Wizards continued to hustle and regained the advantage, 102-99 off a Seraphin hook shot, followed less than a minute later up with a thunderous  dunk.

The Wizards held their ground and emerged victorious. Young’s two-pointer with 43 seconds sealed the deal.

From there, the Washington fans serenaded the Lakers – and their legion of followers – with a “beat L.A. chant” to support the home team. They took a 105-101 lead with 12.5 seconds left after two Wall foul shots and didn’t look back.

Wall said, “We were down 20, but anytime you are down in this league there is a chance that you can come back. The second group just gave us the spark we needed. Players like Kevin Seraphin and Trevor Booker did a great job battling down low for us.”

He added, “This game allowed both of those players to play physical and be the aggressors. We sensed that the momentum was changing in the game when a lot of the calls were going in our favor. In the second half we wanted to be in the game and we needed the crowd to be on our side.”

The Wizards’ next game is on Saturday night as they face the Portland Trail Blazers at home.

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