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Posted at 12:03 PM ET, 11/21/2010

Wizards hope to end road skid

By Michael Lee

The Wizards ended a remarkable streak on Friday when they defeated the Memphis Grizzlies, 89-86, with a, grind-it-out, "root canal" performance that saw them shoot just 38 percent. It was the first time since Jan. 14, 2008 that the Wizards made fewer than 40 percent of their shots and still won a game, breaking a string of 43 consecutive losses in that situation.

Now, they are focused on ending another streak on Sunday in Detroit. They are the only team in the Eastern Conference without a road victory this season. The Wizards are 0-5 -- with three losses by at least 21 points -- away from Verizon Center, where they an impressive 4-2. Only five Eastern Conference teams have at least four wins at home.

The only other NBA team without a road win are the 1-13 Los Angeles Clippers.

"That's part of the maturity process, to be able to fight things," Coach Flip Saunders said. "What happens is, when things go bad at home, the crowd will help you get into a game, or you make a couple of shots and the crowd will get into it and you play off your adrenaline and you don't hang your head as much. On the road, it's the other way around."

The Wizards are a completely different team at home than on the road. They average 99.8 points and shoot 45.3 percent at Verizon Center, but just 89.6 points and 43.2 percent shooting away from home. They also grab just 35.8 rebounds on the road, compared to 41.8 at home.

"I don't know. I cant tell you," Andray Blatche said, when asked why the Wizards have performed so poorly on the road. "It's something about that road. We've got to find a way to pull together and get over that hump. It's sad to say that we're the only team in the league without a win on a road. We've got to go on to Detroit and make that happen. We're going to have to all pull for each other on the road, get each other hype and be each other's friend and tough it out. That was key."

Blatche is the most dramatically different player away from Verizon Center. At home, he averages 20 points and 9.8 rebounds. On the road, he averages 12 points and 5 rebounds, although those numbers are somewhat skewed since he has sat the fourth quarter of a few blowout losses away from home.

Saunders said a primary difference is that the Wizards have struggled taking care of the ball on the road, where they average 19 turnovers a game. They average 16.7 at home. "On the road, the No. 1 thing you have to do, you have to be able to take care of the basketball, so you won't be able to give up runs," he said. "What happens is you turn the ball over and that's how other teams get their crowds into the games, get fast break points, get layups and get spectacular players. They're scoring and you have to go against a set defense all the time and it's like going in quicksand, you keep on sinking further and further the more you work on it."

By Michael Lee  | November 21, 2010; 12:03 PM ET
Categories:  Andray Blatche, Flip Saunders  
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Next: Open thread: Wizards (4-7) at Pistons (4-8)


Road, schmoad. The Wizards will tonight!

Posted by: harrybalz | November 21, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

On the road KH and AB can't get ticky-tack fouls called just by moving towards defenders, and Gil's forays to the rim are just as likely to end in TOs as whistles.

However this is a very winnable game, and I expect the Wiz to pull it out!

Posted by: divi3 | November 21, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Young seems to be pulling it together this year after three seasons of inconsistent bench play and spot starts.

He's a no-question NBA rotation player, a more flexible Daniel Gibson. Given that Young's QO is only $3.7 million, it would seem like the Wizards would offer it up and try to work out a sensible extension with the guard.

But I thought Nick was headed overseas????Posted by: divi3

I know. It makes one wonder what Bethlehem Shoals sees in Zwiller other than his ability to meet a deadline. Daniel Gibson? Gibson is a combo guard, a much better spot-up shooter with a handle. Young is strictly a wing, a rhythm shooter with the ball handling skills of someone missing fingers.

For the record, I've questioned Young's professionalism, not his ability to play in the NBA. There a plenty of worse players getting paid out there. If I really liked Young, I would compare him with a late bloomer like Dorell Wright. But I don't like him so I won't. I am starting to wonder if he's really a SF, and has been playing out of position all along, though.

Posted by: djnnnou | November 21, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Two road games include Orlando and Boston, so obviously the stats will be skewed.

Posted by: sagaliba | November 21, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Hey Coach you need to get back to the basic with KH he is not playing defence, we don't need KH bring the ball up the court he doesn't look confortable and when their are two defenders around him he alway turn the ball over, he is much more comfortable when someone is passing him ball. Gil is a true point guard. on the last 2 game you keep depentign on KH is has showen you both time he will choak. Have you not heard feed the man with the "HOT HAND" We need to get rid to zone Man to Man is the way to go...

Posted by: bajunchild | November 23, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

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