The mystery continues for the enigma that is the Washington Wizards puzzling season. With impressive wins over some of the NBA’s top teams, Washington has shown the ability to hang with any opponent. But their focus, execution and maturity has fluctuated with each game at a maddening rate.

A blowout home loss to the lowly Golden State Warriors was followed by a come-from-behind home victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, which was subsequently followed by another big loss at home to the Portland Trail Blazers. Whether exciting or infuriating, the Wizards remain a mystery. The AFRO recaps a wild week for the Washington Wizards.

March 5—Golden State 120, Washington 100: This one was over before it ever started. The Warriors obliterated the Wizards from long range early and often in the first quarter, connecting on seven of their nine attempts in the period. It all led to a staggering 40-point quarter as Golden State raced to a 41-24 lead. The Warriors finished 15 of 23 from downtown and broke a five-game slump in which they shot a lowly 24 percent from beyond the arc. Six players scored in double figures for Golden State and though Nick Young led the Wizards with 25 points as a reserve, John Wall paced the team with 20 points, 14 assists and six rebounds.

March 7—Washington 106, Los Angeles Lakers 101: The Lakers were ahead by 21 points, and the D.C. fans were chanting MVP for Kobe Bryant while booing their home team. Then the Wizards put their reserves in, and never looked back. Ignited by bench regulars Roger Mason (14 points), Young (19 points) and Kevin Seraphin (14 points), Washington’s bench scored 55 points en route to erasing a 21-point third quarter deficit. Washington placed six players in double figures. But aside from their miraculous comeback, the real story of the game was Washington’s undersized front court playing tough against the Lakers pair of seven-footers. Seraphin (6-foot, 9-inches) and Trevor Booker (6-foot, 8-inches) outmuscled and outworked their opponents. Serpahin recorded 14 points and nine rebounds while Booker was huge with 18 points and 17 rebounds. The pair trumped the Lakers’ Pau Gasol (19 points, 15 rebounds) and Andrew Bynum (19 points, six rebounds) in supreme fashion.

March 10—Portland 110, Washington 99: The last time the Wizards saw the Trail Blazers, Washington embarrassed a middling Portland team on their home court. In a dose of revenge, Portland slugged out a hard-fought road win over the Wizards despite a statistically solid performance from the home team. Wall led the team with 25 points and eight assists, while rookie Chris Singleton added 12 points and seven rebounds. The game got chippy in the first half as Seraphin and Portland’s Marcus Camby got into a brief shoving match. LaMarcus Aldridge led all scorers with 30 points.

Weekly Notes: Washington will return to action March 12 in a road trip to San Antonio. The Wizards continue to show bouts of brilliance followed by spurts of bumbling. Washington has now defeated Oklahoma City and the Los Angeles Lakers at home this season, which signals their ability to compete with the upper echelon teams of the league. But until they bring the same motivation and consistent focus into every game, they’ll have a hard time stringing wins together. The Wizards finished the week with an overall record of 9-30.

Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO