October 2, 2014

Wizards sign Al Harrington

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced Wednesday that the team has signed veteran forward Al Harrington. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not released.

“Al’s all-around game and reputation as a leader make him a solid fit with our team,” said Grunfeld.  “He will give us additional depth and experience in the frontcourt, the ability to stretch defenses and another proven veteran in the locker room.”

Harrington has appeared in 947 career regular season games in 15 seasons with the Indiana Pacers, Atlanta Hawks, Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks, Denver Nuggets and Orlando Magic. On Aug. 2, 2013, Harrington was waived by the Magic, who originally acquired the 33-year-old from Denver on Aug. 10, 2012, as part of a four-team, 12-player deal. Harrington played in 10 games with the Magic last season, averaging 5.1 points, 2.7 rebounds and one assist in 11.9 minutes per contest after missing the first 54 games of the season with a right knee meniscus repair and ensuing staph infection.

Over his career, Harrington has averaged 13.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 29 minutes per contest. He has shot .445 from the field and .352 from three-point range, recording 103 career double-doubles.

Originally selected by the Pacers as the 25th overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft out of St. Patrick’s High School in Elizabeth, N.J., Harrington’s most productive season came during the 2008-09 campaign, during which he averaged a career-best 20.1 points and 6.2 rebounds in 73 games with Golden State and New York.

Washington Wizards Game 72 Wrap: Wizards rally falls short in 97-92 loss to Magic

After trailing by as many as 16 points, the Washington Wizards (26-46) rallied to within two points of catching the Orlando Magic (19-54) with 15 seconds remaining, but came up empty, falling 97-92 Friday night at the Amway Center.

John Wall has done everything in his power to ensure the Wizards don’t bow out early this season, even without a playoff berth in sight, but the supporting cast yet again failed to capitalize on his efforts. [Read more...]

Washington Wizards Game Wrap 35: Wizards Cruise to Third Straight Win with 120-91 Victory over Magic

The Washington Wizards (7-28) pulled the plug on the Orlando Magic (13-24) at the Verizon Center Monday night as Washington banked its most impressive victory of the season thus far – a 120-91 rout – to mark their third straight win.

At last, basketball has returned to the district.

Yes, John Wall was back in action for a second night in a row off the bench. More importantly, however, there was no single hero Monday night. The Wizards shared the wealth – and moved the ball – and as a result, six players for Washington tallied double-digit points. Emeka Okafor led the pack with 19 points and 11 rebounds, while A.J. Price and Kevin Seraphin tied with 18 points apiece.

The mere presence of John Wall seemed to help the Wizards get back on their feet again. Wall added 12 points and six assists to the mix during his second night back, but more importantly, he seemed to return confidence to a roster that seemed lifeless only weeks ago.

“[Wall] brings an added dimension that nobody had, that’s honesty,” said head coach Randy Wittman after the game. “His energy, his speed, his enthusiasm, his delivering of the ball…He sees the floor very well, not all guys see that.”

The Wizards’ defense was not quite picture-perfect,  but the Magic shot just 42.5% from the field. Even more, Washington drew key fouls and learned to play small ball to rack up points. In fact, they held off on attempting a three-pointer until less than 4:30 remained in the first half.

By the time Wall checked in – with 5:35 remaining in the first quarter – the Wizards were already off to a 16-11 lead, helped by eight consecutive free throws made by A.J. Price, Bradley Beal and Martell Webster collectively.

After Kevin Seraphin laid down the perfect block on Arron Afflalo, the Wall of old made his first appearance of the night with a fast break layup to widen Washington’s lead to 24-18.

The Magic’s Glen Davis responded with a layup of his own, but the Wizards carried a less-than-comfortable six-point lead into the second quarter.

Washington wasted little time heating up in the second quarter. By the time Price sank a 25-footer with 8:47 remaining, Washington had expanded their lead to 11 points.

Just under three minutes later, that lead grew to 16 points, thanks in part to an 8-0 run by unlikely hero Jan Vesely. Vesely capped off his stint with his second of several noteworthy dunks on the night.

With less than five minutes remaining in the half, Trevor Ariza sank a three, and Beal followed up with a jumper and layup to put Washington up 19 points.

Then, the Wizards returned to old habits.

In just two minutes and 14 seconds, they handed back 13 of 19 points to the Magic unanswered due to a missed alley-oop layup by Wall and two petty turnovers. Josh McRoberts added salt to the wounds by making the last basket a buzzer beater dunk to trim the Wizards’ lead to 59-53.

Unlike the Wizards of earlier this season, this team returned to the court ready to earn back the points they shed.

“I liked what I saw today in our guys’ eyes at halftime,” Wittman said. “It showed right away in the third quarter, we immediately built it up to 10, 12, 13 right away. It’s a good sign.”

The Wizards and Magic went back-and-forth throughout most of the third quarter, with Washington maintaining a 10-point lead throughout, give or take.

Leading 81-71, Vesely pitched the ball to Webster, who drew the three-and-one from the wing to put the Wizards out front by 15.

Before the end of the quarter, fans were treated to a pair of monster slams by Beal and Seraphin, and Washington regained a 19-point lead.

Then, in the fourth quarter, the Wizards did not only dominate, they put on a show.

To set the tone, Washington wowed the crowd with a John-to-Jan alley-oop to make it 98-77 with just under 10 minutes left to play.

With just under five minutes left, Trevor Ariza kicked off the dunk show before Seraphin dropped two hammers of his own to blow it open for Washington, 113-87. A.J. Price followed up with a three-pointer before the Wizards officially celebrated their first three-game win-streak of the season with a final score of 120-91.

Taking into account how the WIzards have performed throughout the majority of the season thus far, fans are left wondering if the win streak represents a change in momentum on the season or a fluke amidst a string of terrible losses, soon to again become the norm.

“We lost so many close games that I think once we started losing so many in a row, I think it kind of became a mental thing,” Price said. “When we got to the fourth quarter, for whatever reason, we just couldn’t execute because it was stuck in the back of our heads. I think now that the tide has turned a bit, we shouldn’t have to worry about that for the rest of the year.”

In order to prolong their win streak, the Wizards will have to carry their momentum away from home as they embark on a five-game road trip while the district prepares for the presidential Inauguration events taking place this weekend.

Wizards beat Magic 120-91 Postgame Audio: Wittman, Wall, Vesely, Price, Beal

WASHINGTON–The Washington Wizards put on a show, blowing out the Orlando Magic 120-91.  The Wizards had season high in points and put up a season-high 37 in the third quarter alone.  Wizards Head Coach Randy Wittman was very pleased with their third win in a row.

“As I told them, that was a beautiful thing tonight.”

The Wizards had six in double-figures, including forward Jan Vesely with 10 points, seven rebounds, four assists and was a plus 29.

“That was a great game,”  Vesely said. “Everybody enjoyed playing. We played together and helped each other on defense. On offense, we just had fun. It was a great game to play.”

Guard John Wall had 12 points and six assists in his second game back and Randy Wittman knows what good guard play can bring to this team.

“If you get good guard play, you have a chance to win games. John coming back helps that, obviously.”

The Wizards shot 56.1% on the night, first time all season they’ve gone over the 50% mark from the field.

Whenever we move the ball, we have movement off the ball and then playing great defense, we’re a great team…it’s going to be tough to really deal with us down the stretch,”  rookie guard Bradley Beal said.

Listen here to what Randy Wittman, John Wall, Jan Vesely, A.J. Price & Bradley Beal had to say following the win.

Randy Wittman Postgame Audio

01-14-13 Randy Wittman Postgame RAW

John Wall Postgame Audio

01-14-13 John Wall Postgame RAW

Jan Vesely Postgame Audio

01-14-13 Jan Vesely Postgame RAW

A.J. Price Postgame Audio

01-14-13 AJ Price Postgame RAW

Bradley Beal Postgame Audio

01-14-13 Bradley Beal Postgame RAW

 

 

Washington Wizards Game Wrap 27: Off the bench, Crawford leads Wizards to 105-97 win over Magic

At last, the Washington Wizards (4-23) have snapped their losing streak which reached eight games before Friday night’s 105-97 win over the Orlando Magic (12-17) at the Verizon Center.

Sure, the Magic are without Glen Davis, who sprained his left shoulder against the Wizards on Dec. 19. And yes, it was a little bizarre that the Verizon Center erupted into chants of “RGIII” in the fourth quarter for Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III. But, to take the glass-half-full approach – at least Wizards fans found positive reasons to make noise, right?

The Wizards shot 47.7% from the field and went 15-17 on free throws. They turned the ball over only 11 times – compared with 20 times against the Cleveland Cavaliers Wednesday night.

By day’s end, Crawford tallied 27 points, six rebounds and six assists against the Magic, who are riding their own four-game losing streak. Nene posted big numbers as well with 23 points, 11 boards and four assists.

Washington’s defense did little to slow the Magic in the first quarter. Orlando rocketed to a 15-4 start fueled by three Jameer Nelson three-pointers in a row. Luckily enough for the Wizards, Crawford and Garrett Temple delivered off the bench just as Nene and Kevin Seraphin seemingly mastered the art of sinking free throws.

With the Wizards trailing by just six, Crawford kept things close for D.C. by scoring nine points in the first six minutes of the second quarter.

It was not until much later in the quarter, however, that the Wizards finally took the lead. Down 49-44, Crawford scrambled down the court to pitch the alley-oop to Bradley Beal who slammed it in for the highlight reel. Then, Crawford and Temple sunk back-to-back threes to give the Wizards their first lead of the game, 52-51.

From there, they never gave it back. In fact, with 5:33 left in the third quarter, Seraphin sparked a 12-0 run for the Wizards to make it 78-63 Washington, but the Magic crawled back within eight by the buzzer.

Within the first two and a half minutes of the fourth quarter, the Magic trimmed the Wizards’ lead to just four points. However, a flurry of Nene free throws and a pair of jumpers by Kevin Seraphin helped bring the Wizards back to a 92-80 lead.

With just over three minutes left in the game, the Wizards did something they haven’t done since their Dec. 4 win against the Miami Heat – they reached the century mark. When all was said and done, Washington proved it can hold a lead against a sub-.500 team by battling it out to get the 105-97 win.

Washington Wizards Game Wrap 23: Another Poor Shooting Night Dooms Wizards

Battered, broken and totally out of sync, the hobbled Washington Wizards had a hard time finding their stroke in last night’s 90-83 loss to the Orlando Magic.

It was yet another dismal night shooting for the Wizards, hitting just 34 of their 77 shots. Wednesday was yet another contest where the team failed to get over the 45-percent shooting threshold. A few more buckets here, or a better shot choice there and the Wizards could have walked away with another win, instead they add to the mounting number of losses.

With rookie Bradley Beal out with a concussion, Trevor Ariza down with a leg injury, AJ Price missing with a hand injury and John Wall still not prepared to return, the Wizards had to turn to yet another starting lineup. Earl Barron, someone who rarely sees the floor let alone starts, was thrust in at power forward, while Shaun Livingston returned to a starting spot at guard.

It is hard to criticize two players who are only starting because of injury, but Barron and Livingston were clearly key reasons the team shot so poorly. Combined, the two of them only hit two shots, while they missed a combined 11 buckets. Sure, not everyone can score like Wall, but the two continued to take mid-range jumpers throughout the game and it hurt the team down the stretch.

Those two were not the only ones to have a poor day shooting, but they were definitely the worst of a bad bunch. Including Barron and Livingston, six of the team’s nine players who saw the floor shot below 50-percent. The only Washington player who really did well offensively at all was Nene.

Nene continued the strong play and leadership he has exhibited in his game all year. Too bad he is on a minutes limit. In just 25-minutes, Nene was 8-10 from the floor, a perfect 4-4 from the free throw line and scored a team high 20 points. Oh, and he was the only player other than Cartier Martin to have a positive plus-minus while he was on the floor.

There is a real reason for the minutes limit, but it is certainly starting to hinder the Wizards’ ability to perform on the court. It may be in the team’s long-term best interest to keep him on the bench, but at this point either the forward is healthy or he is not. If he is not, he should not play. If he is healthy though, then he needs to see the court more.

Staring a 3-21 record in the face heading into Friday’s game against the Detroit Pistons, the Wizards continue to fail at putting it together on the road. Sure, they are not exactly stellar at home, but they are 1-11 away from the Verizon Center and Detroit has been solid, definitely not good, but solid at home. It is a recipe for yet another Wizards loss.

With a home-and-home against one of the worst teams in the East, the Pistons, Washington really needs to use this upcoming back-to-back in order to really gauge what it can realistically do. Yes, it is still early in the season, but if Washington does not start showing signs of life, it may be time to start seeing what they have for the future.

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.

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