Riding Martell Webster’s 21 points and five three-pointers, the Washington Wizards downed the Los Angeles Clippers 98-90 to end a four game skid at the Verizon Center Monday night.
Webster was the catalyst for a Wizards team that has struggled to score in their last few outings. One of their more vocal leaders came to play monday though and it was Webster, along with Nene, Garrett Temple and John Wall that helped the Wizards lead at the end of all four quarters.
“I dont give myself any personal accolades … fortunately I was on the receive end of most of those passes tonight,” Webster said when asked if has emerged as the team’s go to shooter to change momentum.
Even though both team’s sport just about the exact opposite record entering the game, with the Wizards sitting at 11-35 and the Clippers at 34-15, you would not be able to tell they were so far apart in the standings early on. Washington raced out to a early lead after the crowd learned LA’s Blake Griffin was a late scratch with a hamstring injury.
“Hey listen we’ve played enough games this year without players, don’t give me the crap about who was here and who wasn’t here,” Head Coach Randy Wittman said when asked about Griffin’s absence after the game. “This is a god-dang game that we won … give me a break.”
Temple was a huge piece of the puzzle early and knocked down all four of his shots to lead the team to a 24-16 lead after the first quarter. Of course, Wizards fans all know what comes next, the scary second quarter.
While this version of the second quarter was more scary like you’re afraid you’ll spill the milk than Nightmare on Elm Street, the Wizards did let the Clippers back in the door. Jamal Crawford was an issue for Washington with 12 points on four-of-six shooting, and would continue to be a problem all game scoring 28 off the bench. Wall got some of the momentum back though when he hit a long two with almost no time on the clock to make it 51-46 at the half.
It looked like the Wizards were going to fall apart in the third, falling behind the Clippers several times. A big slam by Crawford and a DeAndre Green pull-up two allowed the Clippers to take a 63-60 lead. Martell Webster followed it up with one of his threes though and the Wizards would not trail for the rest of the quarter.
LA started to rally again with about five minutes left in the fourth. Crawford increased his point total to 22 and they were getting strong support from their other pieces. Washington’s lead was cut to three, but Trevor Ariza immediately knocked down a huge three pointer to make it 85-79 and continued a huge momentum swinging run. The Wizards would keep control the rest of the way and never let the Clippers really get anywhere close to the lead.
In a fight with the Charlotte Bobcats to avoid being last in the Eastern Conference, the Wizards helped their cause with their win Monday. Now sitting at 12-35 on the year, Washington will look ahead to Friday’s matchup agains the Brooklyn Nets. Last time the newlook Nets came into the Verizon Center the two team’s played a double-overtime epic that resulted in a tough Wizards loss.