The Washington Wizards lost a game they were favored to win, defeated a pair of teams they shouldn’t have beaten and traded away their leading scorer for peanuts in the span of just five days.
Washington (17-37) made a move before the Feb. 21 NBA trade deadline, sending combo guard Jordan Crawford to the Boston Celtics for injured guard Leandro Barbosa and aging center Jason Collins. Despite the trade, Washington reeled off consecutive wins against two of the Western Conference’s best teams during a three-game homestand. The AFRO recaps the week that was for the Washington Wizards.
Feb. 19—Toronto 96, Washington 88: Point guard John Wall had, without a doubt, his worst game of the season since returning from an injury. Wall wasn’t completely to blame for the defeat, but his 1-for-12 shooting performance and seven turnovers certainly didn’t help matters. His jump shots were often off the mark and, with the Wizards offense sputtering, Wall pushed the envelope. Toronto’s Rudy Gay (24 points) led a Raptors attack that was one step ahead of the Wizards all night. Bradley Beal, fresh off an appearance in the NBA’s Rising Stars game, scored a team-high 25 points and nailed three three-pointers.
Feb. 22—Washington 119, Denver 113: Washington couldn’t miss in their best offensive performance of the season, as seven players scored in double figures to help preserve a huge lead and snap a two-game losing streak. Behind Beal (17 points, 12 rebounds) and Emeka Okafor (17 points, 13 rebounds), Washington built an 18-point second half lead, only to see it dwindle to two points late in the final quarter. Wall hit a critical jump shot with less than 20 seconds remaining to extend the lead to four points and seal the game. Clinton-native Ty Lawson scored a game-high 27 points.
Feb. 23—Washington 105, Houston 103: Roles reversed as Washington was the team charging back from a sizeable deficit, instead of the team trying to protect a big lead. The Wizards overcame a hot-shooting Rockets team which launched an NBA season-high 46 three-point attempts. Houston made 19 of those treys, but it was Washington’s Okafor (17 points, 11 rebounds) and Trevor Ariza (18 points, six assists) who piloted a second-half comeback. Late in the game, Okafor tied the score for the first time since the first quarter and added a go-ahead free throw. Washington dumped it inside to the big man with the game tied at 103-103, and he was fouled while making his move to the basket. Okafor sank the first attempt before Beal (21 points) rebounded his miss and added another free throw for the deciding score.
Washington continues to chop down the NBA’s best teams, running their record to 5-0 against the last five teams they’ve played with winning records. The Wizards will return to action on Feb. 25 at the Air Canada Center against Toronto.