Wizards take 1-0 series lead vs Hawks
The second round of the 2015 NBA playoffs began today with a road win by the Washington Wizards in Atlanta. Here’s the Washington Post blog reporting:
The Wizards repeated the feat Sunday, rolling off the Atlanta Hawks’ explosive punches to erase a 12-point third-quarter deficit and stun the hosts, 104-98, and seize control of another series at Philips Arena. With the victory, Washington improved to 8-1 on the road in the playoffs the past two seasons under Coach Randy Wittman. The Wizards are the first team in NBA history to win four straight Game 1s on the road.
Bradley Beal headed the effort with 28 points but sprained his right ankle in the fourth quarter. He returned but was held scoreless the rest of the way. John Wall played through a left wrist injury he suffered in the second period to post 18 points, 13 assists, and seven rebounds. Marcin Gortat added 12 points and 12 rebounds.
DeMarre Carroll erupted for 21 points in the first half — the most a Hawks player has scored in a half this season – but was held to just three in the second half. His 24 points led five Hawks in double figures. Al Horford (17 points and 17 rebounds) and Paul Millsap (15 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists) each registered double-doubles but Atlanta was held to 35 points in the second half after recording 37 in the first quarter alone.
Wizards forward Otto Porter playing well against Raptors
Here’s the Washington Post blog with a positive report on Wizards forward Otto Porter:
A feisty Porter has emerged against the Raptors to do a little bit of everything. He is averaging 10.7 points and 7.3 rebounds in 34 minutes, though much of his performance isn’t represented on a stat sheet. His three-pointer with 4 minutes 23 seconds remaining in Game 3 Friday handed Washington a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. He has salvaged possessions with tap-outs and been a nuisance on both ends of the floor. He does the grunt work that’s made the Wizards’ wildly successful small lineup with Pierce at power forward as potent as it is.
“He’s been the difference,” Raptors guard Greivis Vasquez declared after the Wizards’ Game 3 win.
Porter’s greatest contribution, however, may be his defense. The long-limbed Porter – he is 6-foot-9 with a 7-foot-1 wingspan — has served as a DeMar DeRozan stopper of sorts during the series and it was evident again Friday.
Paul Pierce making life difficult for Raptors
Here’s the Boston.com blog reporting on Washington Wizards small forward Paul Pierce, who is doing mean things to the Toronto Raptors in their first-round playoff series:
Paul Pierce continues to make life miserable for the Toronto Raptors.
The former Celtics star scored 11 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, including a pair of three-pointers in crunch time to help clinch a 106-99 win for his Washington Wizards over the Raptors on Friday night. The win gives Washington a commanding 3-0 series lead in the best-of-seven series.
The Truth finished the night shooting 5 of 9 from the field, including 4 of 7 from beyond the arc in just 27 minutes of action. Wizards’ coach Randy Wittman limited Pierce’s minutes so the veteran could be fresh in the fourth quarter and the move paid major dividends.
Marcin Gortat steps up in Wizards Game 3 win vs Raptors
The Washington Wizards are on a roll. Now up 3-0 in their first-round series against the Toronto Raptors, the team has regained some of the swagger they enjoyed earlier in the season. Here’s the Washington Post blog reporting:
Marcin Gortat’s season reached a nadir in Canada on Feb. 11. He had just watched his Washington Wizards play an entire fourth quarter against the Toronto Raptors from the bench for the third time this season because Coach Randy Wittman had elected to use smaller lineups without him. Gortat was visibly fuming. He had signed a $60-million contract over the summer and he didn’t anticipate sitting in the fourth quarter during marquee matchups as part of the deal.
“It’s tough. It’s really tough especially the last year I played pretty much every fourth quarter,” Gortat said after the game. “It’s a coaching decision. You guys have to ask him why I’m not playing.”
Fast-forward three months and Gortat is starring – and playing fourth quarters –against the same Raptors as the Wizards have taken a commanding 3-0 series lead. The center registered team highs of 24 points and 13 rebounds in 42 minutes while adding strong rim protection at the other end in the fourth quarter of the Wizards’ 106-99 Game 3 win Friday.
Paul Pierce says teammate John Wall is the best NBA PG
Here’s the Washington Post blog reporting good news, that Wizards forward Paul Pierce thinks Wizards guard John Wall is awesome:
John Wall was one of the primary reasons why Paul Pierce surprisingly joined the Washington Wizards last summer. He viewed Wall and Bradley Beal as an up-and-coming back court on the brink of stardom.
After an all-star regular season and a masterful 26-point, 17-assist Game 2 performance against the Toronto Raptors, Pierce doesn’t think the Wall is just on his way to becoming one of the best point guards in the NBA. The 17-year veteran believes Wall already is at the top of the totem pole.
“Top to bottom, he’s the best point guard,” Pierce claimed Friday morning. “You talk about [Golden State Warriors point guard] Stephen Curry, the amazing things he’s done, the three-point shooting, but I just look at overall game. You look at the way [Wall] can score, the way he can pass, the way he can defend. Top to bottom I think he’s the best point guard in the league.”
Wizards sign Will Bynum for rest of season
Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has signed guard Will Bynum for the remainder of the season.
Bynum has appeared in three games with Washington this season after originally signing a 10-day contract with the team on March 27.
A look at Bradley Beal three-point shooting
Here’s CSN Washington reporting on Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal, who through Wednesday’s games is averaging 14.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 33.3 minutes per game this season:
Beal sinks 41.4 of his 3-point attempts, ranking 11th in the NBA. His four attempts per game slot much lower.
Of the top 21 qualified 3-point shooting percentage leaders, 11 average at least 12 points per game. Of those 11, only Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton’s takes fewer 3’s per game than Beal. Kyle Korver, J.J Redick, Danny Green and Kevin Durant average six per game. Klay Thompson tries seven, one less than Warriors teammate Stephen Curry.
Overall, 46 players launch more 3-pointers per game than Beal, including James Harden and LeBron James.
Wizards sign Will Bynum to 10-day contract, waive Toure’ Murry
Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has signed guard Will Bynum to a 10-day contract. The team has also waived Toure’ Murry.
Bynum (6-0, 185) has played seven seasons with Golden State and Detroit appearing in 353 career regular season games while averaging 8.2 points, 3.3 assists and 1.6 assists in 18.5 minutes per game. Undrafted out of Georgia Tech in 2005, Bynum enjoyed his best season in 2009-10 for the Detroit Pistons when he averaged career highs with 10.0 points and 4.5 assists per game. Bynum appeared in 30 games this season for the Guangdong Southern Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association where he averaged 22.3 points, 7.1 assists and 3.6 rebounds while shooting .564 from the field.
Murry appeared in three games for the Wizards and averaged 1.5 points in 4.3 minutes per game.
Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has signed guard Toure’ Murry to a second 10-day contract.
Murry has appeared in two games for Washington this season, averaging 2.0 points in 2.0 minutes of action.
Marcin Gortat fined by NBA for flopping
Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat has been fined $5,000 by the NBA for violating the league’s anti-flopping rules for the second time this season.
The incident occurred with 4:31 remaining in the fourth quarter of Washington’s 88-84 victory over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday, March 18, at EnergySolutions Arena.
To view the play, click on this link.
Wizards sign Toure’ Murry
Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has signed guard Toure’ Murry. He is the 47th D-League “Call-Up.”
In 23 games in the D-League this season with Idaho and Rio Grande Valley, Murry has averaged 12.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 1.6 steals in 29.1 minutes per game. In 16 games with Rio Grande Valley this season, he tallied three triple-doubles, including two in his last four games with the Vipers.
In parts of two seasons with New York and Utah, Murry (6-5, 195) has appeared in 52 career regular season games while averaging 2.7 points in 7.2 minutes per game. Last season with New York, he appeared in 51 games while averaging 2.7 points in 7.3 minutes. Murry appeared in one game with Utah this season after signing with the Jazz in August of 2014.
Murry was undrafted out of Wichita State in 2012. While at Wichita State, Murry averaged 12.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists during his four-year career and helped the Shockers to the 2011 NIT title.
Bradley Beal still working his way back to form
Here’s CSN Washington reporting on Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal:
Two games into his return, Bradley Beal is shooting just 8-for-28, or 28.5%, and his legs aren’t all the way there. He was off for three weeks while he was recovering from a stress injury in his lower right leg and hasn’t quite been himself yet.
The Wizards (34-27) are 1-1 with him back in the lineup and might’ve been able to steal Tuesday’s game at the Chicago Bulls, a 97-92 loss, if Beal shot better than 2-for-8 in the third quarter.
Beal had a wide-open look with 56 seconds left that could’ve tied the score at 94 with a three-pointer, but he misfired. Most of his shots came up short which is an indication of heavy legs.
Wizards keep struggling, fall to Sixers
Here’s the Washington Post reporting on the Wizards, who are dropping games left and right these days and are 33-26 for the season and losers of six games in a row:
No, the Washington Wizards had not reached their lowest possible point Wednesday, when they lost by 20 to the Minnesota Timberwolves, the worst team in the Western Conference.
On Friday night, the Wizards sank even more with an 89-81 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, a franchise constructed to lose to land the best draft pick possible.
The loss, the Wizards’ sixth straight, earned Washington its longest losing streak in more than two seasons and was a full face plant into misery, code red for a team that just a month ago harbored title aspirations.
The defeat came on the heels of a team dinner Thursday, when all 14 players dined together at a Brazilian steakhouse. It was captured in an Instagram post by Marcin Gortat with the caption “Team dinner….Staying together!”
A night later, they were dreadful in a loss to a team they dismantled by 35 points in their previous meeting. The loss was Wizards’ 11th in 13 games and 13th in 17.
Paul Pierce out tonight with bruised knee
Washington Wizards forward Paul Pierce was a late scratch Wednesday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves because of a bruised knee.
Pierce knocked knees with a Golden State defender in the closing seconds of a loss on Tuesday night, but coach Randy Wittman said before the game against the Wolves that he expected his veteran to be available.
Bradley Beal set to return for Wizards
The 33-22 Washington Wizards have won just 3 of their last 10 games, and on Friday got badly smacked down by the Cleveland Cavaliers. But there’s good news on the DC health front. Here’s the Washington Post blog reporting:
There was at least one positive development for the Washington Wizards on Friday: Doctors evaluated starting shooting guard Bradley Beal’s injured right fibula in the morning and have given him the green light to resume basketball activities Saturday.
“Things are progressing really good,” Coach Randy Wittman said. “They’re going to [ramp] him up more and more now so he can get out, shooting and running and stuff, and see how that reacts.”
Beal hasn’t practiced or played in a game since exiting the Wizards’ 94-87 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Feb. 5. He was originally sidelined with an inflamed right toe, but tests the following week revealed a mild stress reaction in his right fibula. It was Beal’s third injury to his right fibula in his three NBA seasons.
John Wall shows understanding of media
Here’s CSN Washington reporting on Wizards guard John Wall, who continues to rise as a star on the court while saying the right things when no game-clock is running:
The surliness rising to the surface with Kevin Durant, particularly when it comes to his comments about the media this weekend, isn’t as much of a surprise as some think. He’s just finally being honest. That’s good for him, but he’d benefit by taking a page from Wizards point guard John Wall, who has dealt with far more criticism and ridicule during his five-year career and doesn’t pout and rant about it.
“I think they do a great job. Sometimes media have to make their stories. Sometimes they’re going to have to say bad things, they’re going to say negative things but that’s part of their job,” Wall explained during Friday’s session. “It’s like us on the basketball court, sometimes you’re going to have good games, sometimes you’re going to have bad games.”
A reporter had just asked Wall if media criticism causes trust issues: “No, some players don’t trust other players neither. It’s all about you. You can build a friendship with them but understand it’s a business they have to do so if they make a bad story you can’t get mad at those guys for doing their job.”
Wizards guard Bradley Beal remains out
Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal will miss tonight’s game at Toronto. Beal missed the last two games with a sore right big toe and subsequent examinations revealed a mild stress reaction in his lower right fibula. He will be re-evaluated following the All-Star break.
Beal has averaged 15.0 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists while shooting .436 from three-point range in 42 games for the Wizards this season.
Patrick Beverley replaces John Wall in 2015 Skills Challenge
Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley will replace Washington Wizards guard John Wall in the 2015 Skills Challenge during All-Star Saturday Night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Feb. 14.
As far as we know, Wall hasn’t suffered a new injury. He likely just feels he can use the extra rest and has chosen to not participate. We’ll update this info if it changes, but it probably won’t.
Beverley, in his third NBA season with the Rockets, is averaging 10.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 39 games. A second-round pick of the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009, Beverley signed with Houston in January 2013 after four-plus seasons playing overseas. He was named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team in 2013-14.
The Chicago Bulls’ Jimmy Butler, the Toronto Raptors’ Kyle Lowry and the Atlanta Hawks’ Jeff Teague, all selected to play in the 2015 NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 15, at Madison Square Garden, headline the Skills Challenge field. Defending champion Trey Burke of the Utah Jazz, the Philadelphia 76ers’ Michael Carter-Williams, the Milwaukee Bucks’ Brandon Knight and the Phoenix Suns’ Isaiah Thomas will also compete in the three-round, obstacle-course competition that tests dribbling, passing, agility and shooting skills.
Bradley Beal says Wizards are playing soft lately
The 31-18 Wizards have the 9th best winning percentage in the NBA, but a lot of those wins came earlier in the season. Currently, they’re on a three-game losing streak, and in general have looked very average lately. Here’s the Washington Post Blog reporting:
“I think we definitely took several steps back in these last five games, especially defensively,” Wizards guard Bradley Beal said. “We haven’t been the same team that got up and was physical and tough on them. We are pretty soft right now.”
Wizards Coach Randy Wittman offered a litany of reasons for the recent struggles.
“We point fingers and until we all get back on the same page and come out and play hard for 48 minutes, and look at ourselves in the mirror and say, ‘What can I do more?’ rather than point our finger and say ‘It’s not me,’ that’s where we are at,” Wittman explained. “Like I said, I’ll take the blame for that, of allowing us to get there.
“There are some good teams in this league that can maybe get away with coasting for a half, but we are not one of them. When we’ve played to get to where we were, it’s because we played hard every night and accepted coaching. We’ve had some success when we’ve taken it a little easy, but we are paying for it. That’s what the bottom line is. Until we play hard, all out, and have each other’s back rather than pointing fingers and saying, ‘It’s not my fault, it’s his fault,’ we are not beating anybody. That’s kind of it in a nutshell.”
The Wizards were victorious last night after defeating the 76ers 111-76 at Verizon Center. Washington now leads the season series with Philadelphia 1-0.
D.C. shot .556 from the field and .500 from behind the arc. All five starters scored in double figures and Otto Porter and Kevin Seraphin also reached double digits in scoring off the bench. Washington was led by Marcin Gortat who tallied 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting and pulled down eight rebounds in 29 minutes. John wall added 11 points and 10 assists in 29 minutes of action.
Washington allowed an opponent-season-low 76 points and their 35-point margin of victory was the biggest of the season. Nene finished with 12 points and six rebounds. He also connected on his fourth career three-pointer in the third quarter. The last time Nene hit a three was on Feb. 1, 2014.
- The Wizards are now 29-13 and in second place in the Eastern Conference. At Verizon Center, Washington is 18-5. Washington leads the Eastern Conference with 18 home victories.
- Washington is 16-0 when leading after three quarters and 24-1 when holding their opponents to less than 100 points.
- Washington shot .556 (45-of-81) from the field last night against Philadelphia. This marks the first time Washington has shot at least .550 from the field this season. Washington is 13-0 this season when shooting at least .500 from the field.