Archive for the ‘ Washington Wizards Blog ’ Category

Video: John Wall top plays of season

Watch video highlights of Wizards guard John Wall’s top plays of the 2013-14 season:

Here’s CSN Washington on the difficult scenario where a player enjoys the team he just played for, and had a big role, and enjoyed success, yet may wind up moving on because that’s things often work:

Future of Trevor Ariza and Wizards is unclear

Whether or not Trevor Ariza comes back to the Wizards won’t be decided by one factor. Everyone knows that he loves the West coast, that he wants to win now and that his families mean everything to him. Yes, both.

“My family is definitely the most important thing to me before basketball, everything. That plays a big factor into a log of things,” Ariza said Friday after he packed up his locker and prepared to leave Verizon Center following the Wizards’ playoff elimination to the Indiana Pacers the previous night. “But when you build something with people that’s hard to let go, too. What we built in this locker room this season, this is a beautiful thing to me. I really enjoyed playing with those guys. I love those dudes like they’re my brothers.”

Ariza, who made $7.7 million, will be an unrestricted free agent and will have options.

Wednesday in Indiana, the Pacers beat the Wizards 86-82 to tie their second-round playoff series at one win apiece. In the victory, Pacers center Roy Hibbert, who has famously struggled in the playoffs as well as for much of the second half of the NBA regular season, stepped up and shot 10-of-13 for 28 points, nine rebounds and two blocks in 33 minutes. Here are some Game 2 Hibbert video highlights:

NBA investigates Twitter threats sent to Wizards

The Wizards say the NBA has investigated a person who made threats to the team on Twitter during its first-round series against the Chicago Bulls.

Center Marcin Gortat said Thursday after practice that there was “one gentleman who really threatened us, actually made some terrorist threats to us.”

Gortat, who is from Poland, said that “he was saying there was a bomb on the plane and stuff, that my country’s going to get bombed and all my family’s going to die, just stuff like that.”

– Associated Press

Here’s some NBA video footage of John Wall and the Wizards, who on Tuesday eliminated the Bulls in the first round of the 2014 NBA playoffs:

Even with the team’s “X-factor” suspended, the Washington Wizards had a No. 42 sitting next to the bench. The 57-year-old with graying hair couldn’t box out or grab a rebound, but owner Ted Leonsis waved his red towel and egged on a cheering crowd that chanted “Free Nene!”

The Wizards did just fine without the suspended Brazilian forward. They scored the first 14 points and beat the Chicago Bulls 98-89 on Sunday to take a 3-1 lead in the Eastern Conference series.

“I thought it was pretty hilarious that Ted had Nene’s jersey on,” Wizards guard Bradley Beal said. “It kind of threw me off for a minute, but then I looked and seen it was Ted.”

Nene or not, the Wizards did what they’ve done all series: Take a quick lead and force the Bulls to use up energy trying to catch up. It was 15-8 in Game 3, 29-12 in Game 2, 19-13 in Game 1. Washington, seeking to win a playoff series for only the third time since the 1970s, can finish off the Bulls on the road in Game 5 on Tuesday night…

Trevor Ariza, getting some of the early looks that might have gone to Nene, scored a career playoff-high 30 points, making 6 of 10 3-pointers. Beal had 18 points, and John Wall added 15 points and 10 assists for the Wizards, who forced 16 turnovers and committed only six.

– Associated Press

Washington Wizards forward-center Nene has been suspended one game without pay for head-butting and grabbing guard-forward Jimmy Butler of the Chicago Bulls around the neck with both hands and attempting to throw him down, it was announced today by Rod Thorn, President, Basketball Operations.

The incident, in which Nene received two technical fouls and was ejected from the game, occurred with 8:28 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Wizards’ 100-97 loss to the visiting Chicago Bulls last night at Verizon Center. Nene will serve his suspension tomorrow when the Wizards host Chicago.

To view video of the play, click on this link.

Tuesday in Chicago, the Washington Wizards beat the Bulls 101-99 in overtime to take a 2-0 series lead. Wizards guard Bradley Beal shot 9-of-20 for 26 points, 7 rebounds and two steals in the win. John Wall is the star guard in the Wizards backcourt, but Beal is on the rise. Here are some video highlights:

Here’s the Washington Post reporting on the Wizards, who have played two NBA playoff games against the Bulls, both in Chicago, and won both. Nice position to be in:

The Washington Wizards had to wait six years to get back to the postseason. But they only needed two games to really get introduced to playoff basketball, with more physical play, short tempers and extreme rallies. In the intense cauldron of United Center — a place that has devoured more seasoned units — the Wizards refused to relent after watching a 17-point lead turn into a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter, and didn’t crumble when they were betrayed by missed free throws and calls that went against them.

The Wizards have been through several ups and downs during the regular season, and they staged a game against the Chicago Bulls that matched those emotional oscillations. Relying upon the scoring of its youngest player, Bradley Beal, and the guile of Nene, Washington took a two-games-to-none lead in this best of seven series with a 101-99 overtime victory in which it outscrapped and outwilled the Bulls.

“I wanted our guys to be greedy,” Wizards Coach Randy Wittman said. “Nothing is guaranteed. We’ve got two wins, you’ve got to get to four. We have to continue to understand how we won these games and the way we went about it.”

Beal scored a game-high 26 points and Nene scored 17, with six coming in overtime, as the Wizards accomplished their mission of returning to Washington for Friday’s Game 3 with two wins. Grasping to a two-point lead in the closing seconds, Nene fouled out while contesting Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich on a driving layup, sending the former Wizard to the free throw line with 2.4 seconds remaining.

Here’s the Chicago Sun-Times reporting on the Wizards, who are set to face the Bulls in the first round of the NBA playoffs:

It’s a nice badge to carry into the playoffs: The team no one wants to play.

It even has a tinge of intimidation to it, that is, if the Bulls were actually facing a team that was susceptible to intimidation.

But they aren’t.

The Washington Wizards have little to lose, especially when all they’ve been hearing is they’re destined for elimination by next week.

“Why would they pick us?’’ Wizards center Marcin Gortat told the Washington Post on Friday when asked about all the predictions from the so-called experts favoring the Bulls. “First of all, Chicago is an experienced team. They have a lot of good players every year. The pressure is on them. I don’t understand why we should be mad. This is a good team, and we’ve just got to beat them. We’ve got to focus on our team.’’

Here’s the Washington Post Blog reporting on Wizards point guard John Wall:

The prevailing feeling both inside and outside the Washington Wizards locker room is this: the team will only go as far as John Wall leads it.

Such a burden is of course natural for a former No. 1 overall draft pick who signed a five-year, $80 million contract extension last summer. But Wall’s status as franchise player stretches far beyond the figurative sense and into the statistical realm, where his leadership responsibilities have emerged in several categories this season.

With two games left in the season, Wall has positioned himself to finish as the NBA’s total assists leader with 699, which is 21 ahead of Minnesota’s Ricky Rubio. When considering that Rubio plays alongside All-Star Kevin Love and that Chris Paul, who leads the league with 10.7 assists per game, is teammates with high-flying All-Star Blake Griffin, Wall’s position among the league’s top playmakers is that much more notable.

Not only does Wall rank third overall with 17.2 assist opportunities per game (passes to a teammate in which the teammate attempts a shot, and if made, would be an assist), he’s also third in points created by assist per game with 21.2, according to NBA.com’s Player Tracking stats.

wizards

The Washington Wizards have partnered with Make-A-Wish® Mid-Atlantic to help grant the wish of 10-year-old Wizards fan Amaris Jackson. Amaris, who is battling renal cell carcinoma and will undergo surgery in the near future to remove a tumor in her lungs, will be signed by the team for this weekend’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday, April 12. Amaris, who is point guard on her school’s basketball team, is from Washington, DC.

Amaris will join Coach Randy Wittman and the entire team for the pregame shootaround followed by a personalized basketball workout with assistant coach Ryan Saunders. Later that evening, she will join Monumental Sports & Entertainment majority owner, chairman and CEO Ted Leonsis and Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld for the signing of a one-day contract. Amaris will lead the team onto the court prior to the game against the Milwaukee Bucks and will take part in various in-game activities throughout the night.

The Charlotte Bobcats have leapfrogged another team, increasing the odds that their return to the playoffs won’t be a token appearance.

The Washington Wizards have dropped a spot and are having issues. Or, as center Marcin Gortat put it: “The way we play right now, we ain’t going to beat anybody, including Milwaukee.”

The Bobcats blew a 20-point, first-half lead to the Wizards on Wednesday night before winning 94-88 in overtime, moving Charlotte into position for the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference.

“To go from basically the worst team going to the six seed, I mean, it shows a lot,” said guard Kemba Walker, who scored the only field goal in overtime for either team.

The win left both teams at 40-38 with four games remaining, but Charlotte won the season series 3-1 and therefore holds the tiebreaker. Both teams want to stay out of seventh or eighth to avoid a first-round series against the two conference powerhouses, the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers.

– Associated Press

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that guard Glen Rice has been recalled from the Iowa Energy of the NBA Development League. Rice will be with the team for tonight’s game vs. Chicago.

In two separate assignments with the Energy, Rice has appeared in 19 games while averaging 17.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.7 steals in 28 minutes per game.

Rice has appeared in 11 games, including one start, for Washington this season while averaging 2.9 points in 10 minutes per game.

The 40-36 Wizards recently clinched a spot in the Eastern conference playoffs. They are currently the 6-seed, but could move up to five or drop to seven depending on how the rest of the season plays out.

Sure, it was easy for the Washington Wizards to say they were going to rebuild their team the “right way,” using the draft to restock the roster and doing a lot of losing before, hopefully, getting back to at least a little bit of winning.

Try living through it.

“Let me tell you, it feels like I’ve been here 20 years,” said coach Randy Wittman, who actually arrived as an assistant in 2009. “But it makes it worth the while, too. I wouldn’t wish some of the struggles that we went through on anybody, but it also makes it nicer then to see the other end of it.”

No one is proclaiming that the Wizards are the NBA dynasty, but the long-suffering franchise is back in the playoffs, having booked their spot Wednesday night with a 26-point thrashing of the Boston Celtics.

– Associated Press

Wizards sign Drew Gooden for rest of season

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has signed forward Drew Gooden for the remainder of the season.

Gooden, who signed consecutive 10-day contracts with the team on February 26 and March 8, has averaged 8.1 points and 4.6 rebounds in 14.6 minutes per game in eight games with the Wizards.

The Wizards have a 35-31 record, and are currently the 5th seed in the Eastern conference.

Here’s the Washington Post with a look into the future of the Washington Wizards and Trevor Ariza:

Ariza can become an unrestricted free agent after the season. Although he has been a huge contributor to the franchise’s revival, the Wizards have a logjam at his position. Backup forward Martell Webster is in the first year of a long-term deal, and rookie Otto Porter , the third overall in last June’s draft, needs to play, which he can’t do that if he remains buried on the bench.

For now, though, Ariza is on the roster — and the Wizards have needed him.

The Wizards have maintained their solid footing in the Eastern Conference playoff race (they’re currently fifth) despite the loss of Nene, who could miss all but the last few games of the regular season because of a knee injury. The Wizards had been 8-34 without the talented-but-brittle Brazilian big man before this most recent ailment, but they’re 7-3 in this stint entering this week’s four-game Western swing, thanks in large part to Ariza.

Ariza, whose career scoring average is 9.6 points, is at a personal-best 15 points per game this season.With Nene out, Ariza is averaging 19 points.

John Wall

Washington Wizards guard John Wall has been fined $15,000 for directing inappropriate comments towards the officials, it was announced today by Rod Thorn, President, Basketball Operations.

The incident occurred at the conclusion of the Wizards’ 98-85 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats on March 12, at Verizon Center.

CSN Washington reported the following last night, “The frustration has been boiling with John Wall when it comes to the lack of foul calls he receives when he attacks the paint, and in his mind it never was more evident than in Wednesday night’s loss to the Charlotte Bobcats. On what turned out to be a game-changing play, Wall was whistled for fouling Kemba Walker on a three-point attempt with the shot clock about to expire. At best, based on replays, the contact was minimal. “I didn’t touch him. All he did was scream,” Wall said. “The ref gave him calls all night because he was screaming.”

Wizards sign Drew Gooden to second 10-day contract

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has signed forward Drew Gooden to a second 10-day contract.

Gooden, who was originally signed by the Wizards on February 26, has averaged 4.0 points and 3.3 rebounds in 11.0 minutes over three games.

The veteran big-man provides frontcourt depth for the 32-29 Wizards.

Al Harrington

Harrington has appeared in seven games since returning from his right knee injury but he has had to adjust his game and find other ways to be effective while he continues to search for his rhythm.

That has meant more slashing and driving until his perimeter shot starts dropping. Harrington scored eight points in the Wizards’ 104-91 win over Utah but he failed to make a three-pointer for the fourth straight game. He has shot just 2 for 13 from long distance since returning.

“That’s how it is sometimes. I’m still thinking about my shot and that’s the worst thing I can do,” Harrington said.
As long as I keep doing that, I’m not going to be consistent. More opportunities I get to shoot, I’ve got to let it rip. Once I get one or two going, I’ll feel good about myself.”

– Washington Post blog

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