The Washington Wizards had their previous weekend’s two-game win streak snapped on March 10 by an angry Miami Heat team but they bounced back with a solid week. The more conditioning recent add-ons Andre Miller, Drew Gooden and Al Harrington get, the more dangerous a team the Wizards become. The wing core of John Wall, Bradley Beal, Martell Webster and Trevor Ariza continues to shoot well and spread the floor by keeping opponents on guard for deep shooting. Washington’s early season bench woes kept them from being a consistent team. Now the insertion of some key veterans has Washington as a winning ball club for the first time in years.
Mon, March 10: Miami Turns Back Late Charge, 99-90, in Wizards Loss
It was a playoff atmosphere last Monday night against the Miami Heat in South Beach. Leads changed, intensity was matched, and Washington met up with a familiar foe in LeBron James. The defending champs disposed of the Wizards 99-90 but not before the visiting team gave the home crowd a slight scare. Marcin Gortat (18 rebounds) led a serious crusade on the glass as Washington outrebounded Miami 50-33. But each member of Miami’s Big Three scored 20-plus points and the Heat outlasted a late Wizards’ charge to slide past Washington. Beal led the team in scoring with 18 points but shot just 7-of-18.
Wed., March 12: Washington Dropped by Bobcats at Home 98-85
Perhaps the Wizards were counting on a midweek home game against the Charlotte Bobcats as an easy win ;but it was anything but such, as the visiting Bobcats flexed a lot of muscle late to drop the Wizards 98-85. Charlotte’s Al Jefferson did mostly what he wanted, scoring 26 points while adding 10 rebounds. He consistently beat Gortat whenever the two were left alone to tango in the paint. The Wizards tried doubling in the second half but it only led to open cutters and shooters for the quicker Bobcats. Wall scored 23 points but handed out just as many assists (four) as turnovers (four) as the offense appeared to sleepwalk through the second half.
Fri., March 14: Wizards Scratch Out 105-101 Road Win in Orlando
A loss to the lowly Orlando Magic on Friday would’ve been disastrous for a club trying to position itself for a postseason run. But even with the Orlando crowd against them, Washington didn’t give up as they tied the game late in regulation before squeezing out a 105-101 much-needed victory. Wall nailed a three pointer with less than 11 seconds in regulation to tie the game at 87-87. His shot before overtime overshadowed a heroic effort as he brought the team back as they trailed 85-79 with just under two minutes to go. Wall nailed a three, got fouled on another three point attempt before sinking his tying three-pointer to add to a 21-point effort. Gortat backed Wall’s efforts with 19 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks. All five starters scored in double figures for the Wizards.
Sat., March 15: Wizards Overcome Fatigue in 101-94 Win over Brooklyn
A potentially tired team returned to the Verizon Center for the second night of a back-to-back. But an electric crowd fueling a possible playoff preview helped drive a big effort in a 101-94 win over the Brooklyn Nets. The Wizards trailed 82-72 late in the fourth quarter but a bench effort spurred by Gooden and Harrington helped Washington take their first lead of the second half before taking the final lead after a Gooden three-pointer made it 97-94 with close to two minutes left. The story of the night was, once again, Wall, who connected on four three pointers en route to a 33-point night. Wall and Nets point guard Deron Williams went back and forth with each other early but Wall showed out late with some big plays. The All Star guard added four rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block on an energy-induced night. Gooden added 21 points and nine rebounds.