Archive for the ‘ Washington Wizards Blog ’ Category

John Wall

On a night when the Washington Wizards celebrated the 35th anniversary of the franchise’s only championship, John Wall played like someone who might someday carry on that legacy, scoring 37 points in a display of speed and flair Saturday to lead the Washington Wizards to a 104-85 victory over the Indiana Pacers.

Wall made 16 of 25 shots, throwing his palms up after making an improbable 14-foot sideways runner and flexing his muscles to the fans on the first row after banking in a fast-break layup. He even blocked a layup attempt by Roy Hibbert, the 6-foot-4 point guard rising to swat the ball away from the 7-foot-2 Pacers center.

Wall also had five assists, four rebounds and two blocks for the lottery-bound Wizards, who have won nine straight at home and are 18-4 at the Verizon Center this season when he’s on the floor.

They were especially motivated to put on a good show Saturday night, with Wes Unseld, Elvin Hayes and the other members of the 1978 team on hand for a halftime celebration in which a new, larger banner was raised and the franchise, at least one more time, was again known as the Bullets…

Hibbert had 25 points and 10 rebounds for the Pacers, who went cold at the start of the second half. The Wizards took a 51-48 halftime lead and turned it into 63-48, with Wall scoring half of the points in the 12-0 run while Indiana was going 4:15 without a point. The Pacers didn’t get closer than seven the rest of the game.

— Reported by Joseph White of the Associated Press

Javaris Crittenton returns to jail on murder charges

Former NBA and Georgia Tech hoops star Javaris Crittenton is now back in jail.

The former Atlanta Journal-Constitution Mr. Georgia Basketball surrendered to officials at the Fulton County Jail late Thursday afternoon on murder charges.

Crittenton, 25, was indicted Tuesday on murder, attempted murder and criminal gang activity charges, among other offenses, for allegedly shooting and killing Julian Jones with an assault rifle in August 2011 and trying to kill another man from a rival gang.

Prosecutors claimed Tuesday that Crittenton had joined the Los Angeles-based Mansfield Gangster Crips soon after being drafted by the L.A. Lakers and inking a multi-million-dollar deal.

– Reported by Marcus K. Garner of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Bradley Beal

The Washington Wizards announced today that guard Bradley Beal will miss the remainder of the season with a stress injury in his right fibula.  He is expected to resume basketball-related activities in approximately six weeks.

Beal, who was selected with the third overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, has averaged 13.9 points, 3.8 assists and 2.4 rebounds while shooting .386 from three-point range in 56 games (46 starts) this season and currently ranks third among all rookies in scoring and three-point percentage and second in minutes per game (31.2 mpg).  He was named Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for December and January and set the Wizards rookie franchise record for three-pointers made in a season with 91.

Beal previously missed a total of 18 games on the season (11 due to a sprained left ankle, five due to a sprained right wrist and two due to a sore back).

Former NBA player and Atlanta native Javaris Crittenton was indicted Tuesday on charges of murder and gang activity.

The Fulton County District Attorney’s office said Crittenton, 25, and his cousin, Douglas Gamble, were charged in a 12-count indictment in the death of an Atlanta woman and the attempted murder of another man.

Julian Jones - a mother of two - was shot and killed in southwest Atlanta while walking with a group of people in August 2011. Authorities say that incident and a second shooting were gang-related. Officials say the shootings may have been retaliation after Crittenton was the victim of a robbery in which $50,000 worth of jewelry was stolen.

Crittenton, a former Georgia Tech guard, was drafted by the Lakers in 2007 and has also played for the Washington Wizards and Memphis Grizzlies. He was suspended for 38 games during the 2009-10 season for pulling a gun in the Wizards’ locker room.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Bradley Beal returns, scores 24 in Wizards win over Raptors

Bradley Beal scored 24 points in his return to the lineup, leading the Washington Wizards to a 109-92 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Sunday night.

Emeka Okafor had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and John Wall added 18 points and 10 assists for Washington. The Wizards, who came in having lost two in a row on the road, won their seventh straight at home and moved into a tie with Toronto for 10th place in the Eastern Conference.

Jonas Valanciunas had 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Raptors, losers of six of their last seven. Toronto leading scorer Rudy Gay scored 11 points - about seven below his average - while being limited to 26 minutes due to foul trouble.

Toronto, which has lost six of seven, cut a 20-point third-quarter deficit to six twice in the fourth quarter before Washington pulled away.

After missing five straight games, and 11 of 13, with a sprained left ankle, Beal shot 8 for 14 from the field, including a career-high six 3-pointers - on nine attempts - in 30 minutes…

Gay was held to five points in the half and DeMar DeRozan to four, while Valanciunas scored 16 for Toronto.

– Reported by Harvey Valentine of the Associated Press

John Wall doing big things for Wizards

John Wall

As John Wall stepped to the free-throw line late in the fourth quarter of Monday’s game against Memphis, his new career high and the Wizards’ sixth straight home win in hand, faint chants of “M-V-P” arose within the Verizon Center.

When asked about it later, the third-year guard shrugged off the praise.

“Nah, I’m not no MVP, man,” Wall said with a grin. “I’m just glad to finally be able to play good, be healthy, help change things around. Like I said, if this team’s healthy from start to finish, we’d easily be a playoff team. That’s how we feel.”

With the way the Wizards have fallen prey to injuries, especially of late, that’s something fans will never know this season (Five players missed Monday’s game with injury or illness). But with the way Wall has played, especially of late, one can’t help but wonder “what if” about this resilient group.

After recording a career-high 47 points in Washington’s 107-94 win against playoff-bound Memphis, Wall is now averaging 25 points and 9.3 assists during his past nine games. The Wizards have gone 6-3 during that stint and are now 21-16 since Wall’s return from a leg injury.

– Reported by Brandon Parker of the Washington Post (Blog)

John Wall playing great March basketball

John Wall playing great March basketball

In the final month of his rookie season in 2011, John Wall averaged 19.4 points, 6.0 assists and 5.9 rebounds while shooting 45.4 percent from the field. In the second full month of last season’s lockout-shortened campaign, Wall averaged 19.2 points, 8.6 assists and 4.6 rebounds and shot 48 percent from the field.

If he maintains his current pace for the next seven games, Wall would turn March into the best statistical month of his professional career.

In 10 games this month, Wall is averaging 20.1 points, 7.7 assists and 4.5 rebounds while shooting 52.4 percent. Wall has failed to record at least six assists in only two games, with three games of 10 or more helpers. He has scored in double figures in each game and tallied at least 23 points in four of his past five games.

“I just give credit to my teammates because they make things easier for me, being able to find spots and knock down shots and get me easy opportunities to score,” Wall said. “My teammates are getting open, [I’m] finding them and I was able to get free throws and layups.”

– Reported by Michael Lee of the Washington Post (Blog)

Although the Charlotte Bobcats have been eliminated from playoff contention, Kemba Walker believes the young team can still take something from the season’s final 16 games.

Most notably learning how to win close games like Monday night.

Gerald Henderson had 27 points and Walker came up with a flurry of big plays in the closing minutes helping the Bobcats overcome a five-point deficit and beat Washington 119-114 to snap the Wizards’ three-game win streak.

Walker scored nine of his 18 points in the final three minutes, sparking a 12-0 Charlotte run…

Walker shot 8 of 14 from the field and had seven assists.

Henderson, who came in averaging 22.5 points over his previous five games, was 8 of 16 from the field and 10 of 11 on free throws. He also tied a career high with eight assists and his 3-pointer with 55 seconds left ultimately sealed the victory.

Ben Gordon had 19 points and Josh McRoberts added 17 for Charlotte.

John Wall scored 25 points and Nene added 21 for the Wizards, who lost three of four games this season to the NBA-worst Bobcats. Emeka Okafor and Garrett Temple each had 17 points.

– Reported by Steve Reed of the Associated Press

Washington Wizards guard John Wall and Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge today were named Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, March 11 through Sunday, March 17.

Wall led the Wizards to a 3-1 week with averages of 24.0 points (fourth in the conference), 11.0 assists (second in the conference), 5.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals (third in the conference). Wall posted three point-assist double-doubles and ranked sixth in the East with a field goal percentage of .617. He collected a season-high 14 assists on March 12 against the Cleveland Cavaliers (95-90 loss) and a season-high 29 points on March 15 against the New Orleans Hornets (96-87 win).

Aldridge led the Trail Blazers to a 2-1 week behind an NBA-best 27.0 points, 10.7 rebounds (seventh in the conference), 3.0 blocks (third in the conference) and 3.0 assists. Aldridge shot 19-of-19 from the foul line on a week in which he posted a point-rebound double-double in each contest, including a 22-point, 10-rebound, five-block effort on March 14 during a 105-90 win over the New York Knicks.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Atlanta’s Al Horford, Denver’s Kosta Koufos, Miami’s LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, Minnesota’s Ricky Rubio, Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, and San Antonio’s Tim Duncan.

The Wizards are playing better than their overall record suggests. They have won eight of their last 11 home games, including triumphs vs. the Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets, Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks in the last month. But since starting 4-28, they get losses vs. teams such as the Detroit Pistons, Toronto Raptors and Sacramento Kings overshadow those accomplishments.

“I don’t know what that’s about,” forward Trevor Ariza said of the Wizards’ improved focus vs. winning teams. “We need to fix that. We got 19 games left. We have to play that way, not worried about the records or anything and just play.”

The fact is, however, that good teams aren’t good by accident. They have better individual talent which gives them a bigger margin for error, but they also know how to close out.

– Reported by J. Michael of CSN Washington

Bradley Beal inches closer to return for Wizards

Bradley Beal waited for his teammates in the locker room after the Washington Wizards’ 87-82 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night, listening to them discuss the turnover problems that led to their demise and offering humor to keep the spirits from staying down.

Beal missed his eighth game of the season and first with a sprained left ankle that he suffered on Sunday against Philadelphia. When asked how he was feeling after the Timberwolves game, Beal said, “Better.”

The Wizards (19-40) are now 2-6 without Beal this season but his absence has been felt lately on the road, where they have lost four consecutive games without the promising rookie shooting guard on the court.

Beal remains day-to-day, but Coach Randy Wittman said that he is making progress.

– Reported by Michael Lee of the Washington Post (Blog)

bradley beal

Beal recently surpassed John Wall as the Wizards’ leading scorer at 14.2 points per game and has been on a serious tear in his past eight games.

Over that stretch, Beal has scored at least 20 points five times, is averaging 20.8 points on 49.2 percent shooting from the field and 44.7 percent shooting from long distance. Beal has also recorded two double-doubles and displayed versatility and a solid feel for making timely plays – such as his huge offensive rebound in the closing seconds of a win against Houston. He snared 11 rebounds against the Knicks, at times grabbing them over all-star center Tyson Chandler or Amare Stoudemire.

In the first half against New York, Beal made a hard cut through the lane but stopped under the basket when he noticed that Knicks guard J.R. Smith was trying to beat him to the corner and Wall was about to get trapped by Chandler and Raymond Felton. Wall found him inside for an easy, uncontested dunk.

Beal erupted for 12 points in the third quarter, starting his run when he tracked down a loose ball beyond half court with 10 seconds on the shot clock and never appeared rushed as he split Iman Shumpert and Jason Kidd near the foul line, then completed a nifty lefty layup over Carmelo Anthony.

– Reported by Michael Lee of the Washington Post (Blog)

Wizards aiming to be clutch by committee

The Wizards don’t have a proven superstar or an established go-to guy who they can get the ball to in the final seconds, get out of the way and let him operate.

The clutch-by-committee philosophy certainly served as a disadvantage early on, as they racked up close defeats. And that certainly isn’t the preferred situation for contending teams that can simply draw something up for LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony or even Joe Johnson and live with the results.

But Coach Randy Wittman doesn’t go into late-game possessions determined to set up one individual, relying mostly on his gut while seeking to exploit mismatches on the floor. The hero emerges within the flow of the game, rather than from reputation.

Wittman has managed to make it work in recent weeks, with the team winning 13 of 22 and calling on everyone from Bradley Beal, to Nene, to John Wall, to even the recently-dealt Jordan Crawford, to make a play with the game on the line.

– Reported by Michael Lee of the Washington Post (Blog)

Jordan Crawford solid in Celtics debut

Jordan Crawford Celtics debut

In his debut with the Boston Celtics, former Wizards guard Jordan Crawford joined an exclusive club, becoming the 46th player in NBA history to take the floor wearing number 27.

Regardless of his jersey number, the player that took the floor on Friday night against the Phoenix Suns was remarkably similar to the one Wizards’ fans watched in Washington.

In 17 minutes Crawford scored 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting, including 2-for-5 from long distance in the Celtics’ 113-88 win. Crawford also had three rebounds and two assists, while only turning the ball over once.

– Reported by Michael Huberman of CSN Washington

Celtics trade Leandro Barbosa, Jason Collins to Wizards for Jordan Crawford

Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the Wizards have acquired guard Leandro Barbosa and center Jason Collins from the Boston Celtics in exchange for guard Jordan Crawford.

“Our team has started to come together and play well over the last 20 games,” said Grunfeld.  “This trade allows us to keep moving in that direction with the solid rotation and defensive commitment we have established on the court, helps us continue to build on the culture we are establishing in the locker room and gives us additional financial flexibility.”

“Jordan’s a scorer and he will provide versatility that will add great depth to our roster,” said Danny Ainge, Celtics President of Basketball Operations.

Crawford, a 6’4” guard, has appeared in 43 games for the Wizards this season and is averaging 13.2 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 26.2 minutes per game. Crawford has recorded 12 games this season with 20 or more points including a season-high 27 points twice (December 28 against Orlando and December 18 against Atlanta). In the game against Atlanta on December 18, he also recorded a triple-double adding 11 assists and 11 rebounds to his season-high-tying 27 points. The third year pro out of Xavier University in Ohio has career averages of 13.4 points, 2.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 149 games split between Atlanta and Washington.

Collins, the 18th overall pick of the 2001 NBA Draft by the Houston Rockets, has appeared in 707 career games with five teams (New Jersey, Memphis, Minnesota, Atlanta, Boston) while averaging 3.7 points and 3.8 rebounds in 20.9 minutes per contest.  This season with Boston, Collins has averaged 1.2 points and 1.6 rebounds in 32 games.

Crawford was originally traded to Washington along with Mike Bibby, Maurice Evans and a 2011 First Round pick (Chris Singleton) for Hilton Armstrong and Kirk Hinrich on February 23, 2011.  In parts of three seasons with the Wizards, Crawford averaged 14.5 points while appearing in 133 games.  He averaged 13.2 points and 3.7 assists while appearing in 43 games for the Wizards this season.

Wizards continue to struggle on the road

The Wizards (14-35) are averaging a measly 86.2 points on the road, reaching triple digits just four times. They are also shooting just 40.6 percent and connecting on 33.7 percent from long distance. Opponents are outscoring them by an average of 9.1 points away from Verizon Center. Washington has suffered seven of its 10 double-digit losses on the road, including a 100-68 loss to the Pistons.

Even the return of John Wall hasn’t been a remedy for the Wizards’ road woes, with the team going 2-6 away from home.

“You’ve got to play better on the road. That’s the bottom line in this league,” [Coach] Wittman said. “We’ve got to figure out a way to play better on the road and do it consistently. And it starts defensively, getting it going. That’s our next step. Take it on the road. I feel good about going into these next two games because of what we’ve done [at home]. We went through a tough stretch of games here. A lot of good games.”

– Reported by Michael Lee of the Washington Post (Blog)

john wall

Though the Washington Wizards have just 13 victories, five are against leaders of the six NBA divisions.

John Wall had 21 points and nine assists, Trevor Ariza scored a season-high 20 points, and the Wizards snapped the New York Knicks’ five-game winning streak with a 106-96 victory Wednesday night.

Washington held the Knicks, who had won the last 10 meetings, to just nine 3-pointers. In the previous two games, New York had 33.

The Wizards have also beaten Miami, Oklahoma City, the Los Angeles Clippers, and Chicago, which was leading the Central on Jan. 26. San Antonio is the only division leader to beat Washington.

”I’d like to play our best against everyone,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said.

Washington had six players score in double figures for the fourth time this season. Martell Webster added 19 points, Nene had 13 points and 10 rebounds, Emeka Okafor scored 12 and Chris Singleton 10.

– Reported by the Associated Press

martell webster

The Los Angeles Clippers were missing Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. The Washington Wizards won the game.

Tread carefully around Randy Wittman when trying to connect those two thoughts.

”Hey, listen, we played enough games this year without players,” the Wizards coach said. ”Don’t give me the (bull) about who was here and who wasn’t here. … You guys would have printed it a wholly different other way if we had lost. … Now you’re going to print, ‘Ah, you won because Blake didn’t play.’ Give me a break.”

To be fair, the outburst was more playful than angry, but the point is well-taken. The Wizards will happily take Monday night’s 98-90 win - or any victory for that matter - in a season that was essentially wrecked from the get-go in part because of injuries to John Wall and Nene.

Now it’s the Clippers who are close to falling off the rails, having lost seven of nine - including six of eight without Paul. Los Angeles is 1-3 halfway through an eight-game road trip and has fallen 4 1/2 games off the Western Conference lead…

Martell Webster scored 21 points, Nene and Garrett Temple had 15 points apiece, Emeka Okafor grabbed 14 rebounds, and Wall had 13 points and eight assists for the Wizards, who broke a four-game losing streak and moved a game ahead of the league-worst Charlotte Bobcats.

DeAndre Jordan had a career-high 22 rebounds for the Clippers. Eric Bledsoe, going toe-to-toe with Wall in a duel between former Kentucky teammates, had 17 points and nine assists.

– Reported by Joseph White of the Associated Press

Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal and Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard today were named the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month, respectively, for games played in January.

Beal, who wins his second consecutive Kia Rookie of the Month award, led all Eastern Conference rookies in scoring (15.1 ppg) and three-point field goal percentage (.508), and finished second in minutes (32.9 mpg) and third in assists (2.5 apg). Beal became the first rookie since Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry in 2010 to shoot .500 or better from three-point range in a calendar month with at least 50 attempts.

Lillard, who wins his third consecutive Kia Rookie of the Month award, led all rookies in scoring (17.7 ppg), assists (6.8 apg) and minutes (39.6 mpg). Among all NBA players this season, Lillard ranks 19th in scoring (18.1 ppg), 13th in assists (6.5 apg) and seventh in three-pointers made (102). Lillard recorded his eighth game this season of 20-plus points and eight-plus assists on Jan. 23 during a 100-80 victory over the Indiana Pacers.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month were Cleveland’s Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller, Detroit’s Andre Drummond and New Orleans’ Anthony Davis.

Wizards keep improving, beat Bulls 86-73

emeka okafor

Emeka Okafor had 15 points and 16 rebounds, helping the surging Washington Wizards beat the Chicago Bulls 86-73 on Saturday night.

John Wall and Nene each scored 16 points for Washington, which has won consecutive games for the second time this season. The Wizards have won five straight at home for the first time in five years, and seven of 10 overall.

It’s a marked improvement from the start of the season, when Washington (11-31) dropped 28 of its first 32 games.

Chicago had won a season-high three in a row for the third time.

Nate Robinson scored 19 points for the Bulls, and Joakim Noah narrowly missed a triple-double with nine points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists, which equaled his career high.

The Wizards outscored Chicago 23-11 in the third quarter to take a 73-55 lead. The 11 points were a season low for the Bulls. Chicago had twice as many turnovers (six) as field goals (three) in the period…

Chicago F Luol Deng missed his fifth straight game with a strained right hamstring.

– Reported by the Associated Press

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