With guard John Wall back in the fray, the Wizards have been ferocious. Despite their 8-30 league worst record, Washington has been pretty competitive this season even before Wall’s return from a knee injury. With Wall back in the lineup for a full week, Washington went 2-2 on the week with a pair of impressive wins.

The Wizards probably aren’t going to make some magical postseason run but they will be a tough out for the rest of the season as long as Wall is healthy and running. The AFRO recaps the week that was in Wizards Weekly-11. 

Jan. 14–Wizards 120, Orlando Magic 91 – Washington was explosive, impressive and fast–key components of a team headed in the right direction. With a home game on tap against Orlando, the Wizards jumped to a 19-point lead before the Magic narrowed it to six just before half. But unlike previous games where the Wizards would get down on themselves, Washington blitzed Orlando in the third quarter 37-24. Washington placed six players in double figures including Wall who came off the bench to record 12 points and six assists. Center Emeka Okafor led the team with 19 points and 11 blocks in just 27 minutes. 

Jan. 16—Wizards 94, Sacramento Kings 95 – Rumors circling about a possible trade for Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins made the Wizards coaching staff flinch with every post move that Cousins displayed. Washington fought hard in a hard place to play (Sleep Train Arena) but in the end, Cousins (21 points) scored nine in the final period and finished with 16 rebounds, five assists and three steals. Guard Bradley Beal scored a game-high 26 points for Washington but missed free throws in the game’s waning seconds sealed the deal for the road team. Washington led most of the night until Cousins and swingman Tyreke Evans (21 points) shouldered the Kings in the fourth.

Jan. 18-Wizards 112, Denver Nuggets 108 – Not intimidated by the noisy Pepsi Center, Washington battled the fast-paced Nuggets at their own game in their own arena. Beal again led the team in scoring, this time dropping 23 points to help offset a game-high 29 points from Denver guard Ty Lawson. Washington again placed six players in double figures but Wall’s 14 points and 12 assists was mild compared to his game-saving block on a Lawson layup with little time left. Lawson’s layup would’ve tied the game but Wall’s defense was critical in a high-scoring game. Washington also welcomed back guard Jordan Crawford, who scored eight points off the bench. 

Jan. 19-Wizards 87, Los Angeles Clippers 94  -With Chris Paul back in action, the Clippers rode their stellar point guard to a pivotal fourth quarter victory. Wall led the team with 24 points, six assists, two steals and two blocks. Paul (22 points, 11 assists) however, was magnificent down the stretch, making key jump shots including a pair over Wall’s outstretched arms as Los Angeles led by three with less than a minute left. It was a measuring stick for the Wizards. The Clippers are the best team in the West but Washington gave them a go. A positive sign for things to come as Washington attempts to turn their season around. 


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO