September 1, 2014

Washington Wizards Game 46 Review: Wall, Wizards snap Thunder’s 10-game win streak

Hold your breath – the Washington Wizards are a .500 basketball team once again.

And, to get there, all they had to do was slow the hottest team in the NBA.

John Wall tallied 17 points, 15 assists and matched his career-high six steals as the Washington Wizards’ topped the Oklahoma City Thunder 96-81 on Saturday night at the Verizon Center. But, his first half performance was anything but all-star caliber.

Through the first 24 minutes of play, Wall missed all of his field goal attempts, including an easy lay-up just before halftime.

Then, per head coach Randy Wittman’s request, Wall changed his shoes.

After trading in his red Adidas for a white pair, Wall went on to shoot 7 of 11 with a highlight-worthy one-handed dunk over Washington native Kevin Durant.

With 4:09 remaining in the third quarter, the Wizards held on to a 58-57 lead before going on a 20-7 run. By the time Wall wowed the crowd with his monster dunk, the Wizards had jumped in front of the Thunder 89-72.

“Got to have amnesia in this league if you’re going to be good,” Wittman said after the game. “If you’re going to be good you can’t let bad plays, bad shooting, bad three quarters bother you… It could be easy to sit there and say, misses a layup at halftime I told him, either change your shoes, change your uniform, or do something. Something is not right.”

Marcin Gortat backed Wall with 14 points and 14 rebounds, and Trevor Ariza and Nene added 18 and 17 points, respectively. Even more, the Wizards took advantage of key opportunities, converting the Thunder’s 21 turnovers into 23 points.

“Everybody was involved with the game and when everybody touches the ball, even if they don’t shoot it, you feel involved,” Ariza said. “We definitely got everybody involved in the game tonight.”

Ariza did an excellent job of covering Durant who, despite tallying 26 points, missed 13 of his 21 field goal attempts.

“You definitely can’t stop [the Thunder],” Durant said. “What you can do is try to make them work for everything you get and make them take a lot of shots. That’s what I tried to do tonight—try to put pressure on them, try to make them take tough shots and luckily [Durant] missed some.”

With the win, the Wizards snapped the Thunder’s 10-game winning streak to go to .500 for the seventh time this season. A win over the Portland Trail Blazers Monday night would give Washington a winning record for the first time since October 2009.

Washington Wizards Game 6 Review: Wizards come up short in OT loss to Thunder

Bradley Beal scored a career-high 34 points Sunday night but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Oklahoma City Thunder from edging past the Washington Wizards in overtime, 106-105.

The Wizards kept on with their strategy of opening up shots behind the arc, going 12-for-29 on threes with Beal leading the charge. In addition to going 6-for-8 on threes, Beal contributed six rebounds during his 42 minutes of play.

But, Kevin Durant made all the difference for the Thunder by posting 33 points, 12 rebounds and six assists.

After keeping up to tempo with the Thunder through the entire first half, the Wizards entered the second up 42-37. They continued to lead for the greater portion of the second half and even distanced themselves from the Thunder by as many as 11 points in the third quarter.

But, as Washington began to lose some steam halfway through the fourth quarter, Durant and Serge Ibaka heated up.

Washington was in front 92-86 with 1:44 remaining before Jeremy Lamb made a 26-footer and Durant fed to Ibaka for a slam that made it 92-91. Beal did his part to keep the Thunder out of the rearview mirror, adding a jumper and a driving layup to make it 96-93 Wizards with 18 seconds remaining but Durant made a 25-footer with 13 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime.

Oklahoma City made the first two baskets of overtime, but the Wizards kept right in the thick of things after John Wall made two free throws and Marcin Gortat added a basket. With 1:52 remaining, Beal sank a three-pointer to give the Wizards their first lead of extra time, but Ibaka’s two-point shot and two free baskets by Durant sealed the win for the Thunder.

The Wizards will hope to improve their road record when they head to Dallas this Tuesday. The Wizards were just 7-34 last year in away contests.

Washington Wizards Game 71 Wrap: Thunder shut down Wizards early as Washington falls 103-80

As one could probably guess by simply reading the final score, John Wall did not post 47 points in the Washington Wizards’ (26-45) 103-80 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder (53-19) Wednesday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

The Wizards were still without several of their top players – and Wall put forth the effort – but the injury-ridden and seemingly exhausted Wizards stood little chance against Kevin Durant and the Thunder. Along with Russell Westbrook, Durant led the Thunder’s efforts – Westbrook recorded 21 points and four rebounds on the evening and Durant another 20 and six. On Washington’s side, however, Wall led with just 18 points and 12 assists. [Read more...]

Wizards Postgame Audio: Wittman, Beal & Many More Talk Win!

WASHINGTON–The Washington Wizards defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 101-99 in their fifth victory of the season.  Bradley Beal had 22 points including the game winner and with three regular guys out due to injuries, Wizards Head Coach Randy Wittman was very pleased with Beal’s and everyone else’s effort tonight.

“I couldn’t of been more prouder of a group of guys then these guys showed me tonight,”  Wittman said.

Beal, even though they shot 10 of 18 from three, said it was their defense that won it today.  Beal also talked about the effort AJ Price and Trevor Ariza gave, since without them, they would’ve only had seven guys play tonight.  Wittman said he begged them to play, but had full doctor approval before hand.  Price said he’s been wanting to play for a few games.

Listen here to what Randy Wittman, Bradley Beal, Trevor Ariza, A.J. Price, Martell Webster & Jan Vesely had to say following the win.

Randy Wittman Postgame Audio

01-07-13 Randy Wittman Postgame RAW

Bradley Beal Postgame Audio

01-07-13 Bradley Beal Postgame RAW

Trevor Ariza Postgame Audio

01-07-13 Trevor Ariza Postgame RAW

A.J. Price Postgame Audio

01-07-13 AJ Price Postgame RAW

Martell Webster Postgame Audio

01-07-13 Martell Webster Postgame RAW

Jan Vesely Postgame Audio

01-07-13 Jan Vesely Postgame RAW

Washington Wizards Game Wrap 33: Bradley Beal Has Coming Out Party in 101-99 Win Over Thunder

Well, if anyone did not know who Bradley Beal was before tonight in the NBA, they do now, as the rookie hit a near-buzzer beater to give the Wizards a 101-99 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

It was a special night at the Verizon Center, as the Wizards moved to 2-0 at home against teams who played in the Western Conference finals last year. Lead by Beal and Martell Webster, the Wizards were able to hold off a pesky Thunder team who tied it late, but did not have the big shot to win it.

“That [play] was for him, yep no question,” Wizards Head Coach Randy Wittman said when asked if the final play was drawn up for Beal. “Popped him out, got him the ball. Like I said, we wanted to run whoever Perkins was on up to him, to see if we could get the switch [of the big men].”

Washington came out shooting the lights out in the first quarter. Beal and Webester hooked up for four combined three pointers to help the Wizards out to a 22-17 lead with time winding down. While Beal and Webster were hot for the Wizards, Thabo Sefolosha was the hot shooter for the Thunder, with three field goals and two threes. It was a tough quarter overall for the Thunder though, shooting just 44-percent from the floor.

The story in the second quarter was much different. Washingtons started with a 30-20 lead, but the ten point cushion quickly evaporated.

Suddenly Oklahoma City was up three and Kevin Durant was a huge part of that. After only scoring four points in the first quarter, he came back with 11 in the second, highlighted by a huge one handed slam he just clearly wanted more than the Wizards. Durant knocked the Wizards out of their shorts later in the half too, when he faked right and drove left for a pull-up two to make it 41-40 Thunder with 4:47 left.

The end of the half could not have gone any worse for the Wizards.

After Serge Ibaka missed a wide open three in the bottom right corner, the Thunder got the rebound and kicked it back to Russell Westbrook. Westbrook hesitated and then found Ibaka open in the right pocket again who knocked the three down to send the Thunder to the locker room up 53-51.

If the second quarter was Durant’s, the third was definitely Webster’s. He had a huge two handed boomshakalaka slam off a steal and hit a three down low to give the Wizards their first lead since the first quarter. He’d go on to score seven in the third and a game total 22 points.

Webster thinks he might have the key to why they were able to begin to pull ahead and complete the comeback.

“The moral of tonight’s story was just buying into the system. Defensively and offensively we did that,” Webster said after the game. “We executed our defensive plans, even though they got shots, but those are things we were going to live with. [Offensively we] went out and laid it on the line, wore our heart on our sleeves.”

Beal continued to have a night in the third, hitting his fourth three of the evening in the waning seconds of the third quarter. The rookie also drew a foul, knocked down the shot and gave the Wizards a 76-73 lead heading into the final frame.

Washington continued to keep their distance from the Thunder as Durant struggled shooting the ball. Jan Vesely was a hero in the fourth – yes you read that right – with four points in the final quarter and 10 total in the game. He managed to climb out of a -15 plus-minus in the first half to just -3 in the fourth, playing a key roll in the defense.

OKC cut into the deficit and made it 94-90 with 3:20 left in the game with a Sefolosha one handed jam. Durant looked to have the Thunder back in it after he followed up Sefolosha with a posterization of the entire Wizards defense to make it 95-94. The Thunder looked back in it, that was, until Webster hit another three from the baseline and was fouled to increase the Wizards’ lead to five.

With the lead and time winding down, the Wizards drained clock before settling for an off-balance shot. OKC took the ball down the court and while Westbrook missed a three, Ibaka got the rebound and kicked it to Durant who hit a deep pull-up three to make it 99 all with under a minute to go.

Oklahoma City may have Durant, but they did not have Bradley Beal.

The rookie took the ball off the inbounds and walked around before driving inside the arc and pulling up with an open look to knock down a near buzzer beater to give the Wizards a 101-99 lead and the win.

“I was exhausted and coach said ‘you think I’m taking you out, you’re crazy,” Beal said after the game.

Webster followed up Beal’s comments with some high praise for the 19-year-old rookie.

“People were saying a lot of things, ‘has he hit the wall,’ nah that kid has a passion and I saw it tonight,”

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