The Washington Wizards took their talents to South Beach against the Miami Heat on Nov. 29 before traveling to Canada to face Toronto and ending the week with a home game against Portland, but a 1-2 record for the week dropped the Wizards to 6-12 this season.

In their biggest test of the season so far, Washington tried to match their height and speed against Miami—with lackluster results. Washington trailed by double digits for most of the game, but generated enough of an offensive spasm late in the game to cut the final score to 105-94.

Miami’s big three consisting of guard Dwyane Wade, forwards LeBron James and Chris Bosh combined for 76 points and 21 rebounds on the short-handed Wizards. Starting in place of the injured point guard John Wall, Gilbert Arenas added 23 points and seven assists. Andray Blatche led the team with 26 points, but it wasn’t enough to overpower the Heat’s star trio.

A road trip to visit the Toronto Raptors on Dec. 1 seemed like a more favorable matchup, and with good reason: Wall returned to the lineup from a knee injury and the Wizards had already blown out the Raptors in their previous November matchup. But neither factor helped Washington as Toronto shot 58 percent from the field and outrebounded them 52-30 in a 127-108 victory. Wall added 19 points and eight assists off the bench, which only offset a horrible shooting night from Arenas. The former ”Agent Zero” shot 1-for-9 from the field and struggled for most of the night, while six players scored in double figures for the Raptors. With the loss, Washington dropped its fourth-straight game and lost its ninth-straight road contest.

The Wizards took full advantage of a chance to end the week on a high note in their 84-79 win over the Portland Trailblazers on Dec. 3. Washington turned in a better defensive effort to limit the Blazers to just 33 percent shooting. Blatche led the team with 19 points, but it was the defensive energy from center JaVale McGee that sparked the Wizards’ win.

McGee’s five blocks were the highlight of his 13-point, 10-rebound evening, helping Washington shut down the middle of the court. Washington also welcomed the return of center Yi Jianlian, who missed nearly three weeks with a knee injury but chipped in two blocks in three rebounds in limited minutes.

Washington will now head west for a three-game road trip before they return home to the Verizon Center for a Dec. 10 clash with the New York Knicks.


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO