Another wild week for the Washington Wizards saw their star rookie suspended for a game for trying to take on a seven-footer, the team earn just their second road win and a rookie racked up an impressive triple-double. Washington topped the 100-point mark in each game as rookie guard Jordan Crawford continued to impress.

Wizards vs. Golden State Warriors:
Washington opened the week in a road shootout against the speedy Golden State Warriors March 27. The Wizards kept it close for most of the game, but a pivotal third quarter cost the visiting team another win as they fell, 114-104.

Washington piled up 67 first-half points but a 17-point third quarter allowed Golden State to seize control of the game. Center JaVale McGee added a powerful performance, scoring 28 points while chipping in 18 rebounds and five blocks. Reserve forward Maurice Evans also gave Washington a spark off the bench with 23 points and eight rebounds.

Wizards vs. Utah Jazz:
The Utah Jazz typically provide visiting teams with a tough test, but Washington found a way to pass the exam March 28. A 100-95overtime win saw rookie guard John Wall fuel the team with 28 points, seven assists and six rebounds, helping Washington avoid tying the mark for fewest road wins in a season set by the 1990 Sacramento Kings, who went 1-40 on the road. Wall had a little help from Crawford who, despite shooting just 1-of-10 from three-point range, scored 25 points and added four steals. McGee was huge in the paint for the Wizards, adding 17 rebounds and three blocks.

Wizards vs. Miami Heat:
Things got a little crazy when the Wizards returned home to D.C. to face the Miami Heat March 30. A second quarter tussle with reserve Heat center Zydrunas Ilgauskas led to an early ejection for Wall, who took a swing at the 7-foot, 3-inch Ilgauskas after being elbowed twice by the big man.

In Wall’s absence, Crawford went off, scoring 39 points and connecting on five three-pointers, but it wasn’t enough as Miami left with a 123-107 victory. Five Washington players scored in double figures but Miami’s Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh combined for 94 points in front of a hostile Verizon Center. Washington also welcomed the return of forward Andray Blatche from a sprained right shoulder. Blatche added 14 points and eight rebounds in the loss.

Wizards vs. Cleveland Cavaliers:
Two days after facing James, Washington faced James’ former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, April 1 at the Verizon Center. With Wall serving his one-game suspension, Crawford and Blatche paced the Wizards to a 115-107 win. Crawford secured his first career triple-double, going off for 21 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds while Blatche scored 39 points and provided a career-high 19 rebounds. McGee added 25 points and three blocks in the victory as Washington improved to 19-56 on the season.

Although it was rough week for Wall, it wasn’t all bad. The star rookie was named the T-Mobile Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for March after turning in some eye-opening games. The latest award now makes him the first player in franchise history to win Rookie of the Month honors in three straight months. Wall averaged 18.1 points per game, 8.6 assists per game and 1.7 steals per game in March.

Washington returns to action April 3 with a road trip against the Charlotte Bobcats.

 

Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO