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Posted at 8:10 AM ET, 01/26/2011

Wizards looking forward to four-game road trip

By Gene Wang
Morning brew

Even after the Washington Wizards lost to Denver last night, 120-109, and were facing the prospect of four consecutive games on the road, Coach Flip Saunders and his players appeared ready to meet the challenge head-on despite their well documented 0-21 start away from Verizon Center.

The reasoning was that because it's an extended trip rather than simply a day or two, the team would have a chance to come together, especially in light of the recent spate of injuries and the addition of point guard Mustafa Shakur, who has played three games since arriving in D.C. on Saturday afternoon shortly before tip-off against Boston.

"Sometimes going on the road for a four-game trip is better than one game because you have the opportunity to bond a little bit, do some things as a team," Saunders said. "Sometimes you go on a one-day trip, you get in there the night before, you eat dinner, and you're playing the next day, so I think our guys are looking forward to it. We're looking forward to playing. We're looking forward to getting a win on the road."

The Wizards' next four games are at Oklahoma City, Memphis, Dallas and New Orleans, all teams either seeking a top seed or in the case of the Grizzlies battling for the final playoff spot. Washington is the only team without a road win. Its last road victory was against the Celtics, 105-95, on April 9, 2010.

Washington had a chance for its first road win on Monday against the New York Knicks. The game was tied at 95 with 10 minutes to play, but Washington, as has been the script repeatedly this season, collapsed down the stretch in a 115-106 loss.

Following the game, Saunders addressed Andray Blatche's performance, calling it "terrible." Blatche, who had six points on 2-for-10 shooting, then called in to a radio show yesterday to defend himself, leading to speculation about how he would respond against the Nuggets.

Blatche apparently took Saunders's chiding to heart, finishing with 25 points, nine rebounds and four assists. He was 9 for 9 from the foul line and kept Washington in the game early before Al Harrington took over for Denver in the second half from the three-point line.

"I told Andray I was proud of how he came back," Saunders said. "I said to our whole team before the game, that's partly what the NBA is about. You have a poor performance, whether an an individual or as a team, you always have an opportunity to come back and try to play well and make up for how you played. He came back and played well and played within the system. He was the only thing we really had going early."

Here are the game story and postgame wrap-up from last night.

Bullets legend Elvin Hayes talks about John Wall.

Box seats blogger Kevin Broom analyzes Nick Young's stats.

Columnist Mike Wise says the state of sports in Washington is not strong.

In Las Vegas, Dan Steinberg investigated the odds on the Wizards going 0-41on the road this season (DC Sports Bog).

And here's one more look at Kevin Seraphin's "spin move" from Monday night (Early Lead).

Adrian Wojnarowski opines that Carmelo Anthony's current East Coast trip will remind him of everything he misses (Yahoo! Sports).

Kyle Weidie says calling the Nuggets' Al Harrington "Othella" is not a good idea.

JaVale McGee talks about his five favorite dunks (

ProBasketballTalk offers a sneak preview of Kobe Bryant's "Black Mamba," a short film directed by Robert Rodriguez, expected to debut All Star Weekend.

By Gene Wang  | January 26, 2011; 8:10 AM ET
Categories:  Morning brew  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Wizards can't keep pace with another potent offense
Next: Carmelo Anthony on joining Wizards: "I never really thought about it."


NBA play of the night: the spirit of Charles Oakley briefly inhabits Brendan Haywood -

"...the defense dominated the second half, epitomized by Haywood's violent takedown of [Blake] Griffin."

"The Mavericks had just gone on a 23-6 spurt to go ahead for the first time. They were up by four when Griffin blew past Haywood on his way to the rim for a spectacular finish. He didn't make it because Haywood reached out with both hands, got hold of his dangling left arm and jerked him down before he got too far off the ground."

"Every play can't be a dunk-contest dunk," Haywood said."

Posted by: Samson151 | January 26, 2011 8:25 AM | Report abuse

This is actually a fairly sophisticated stat analysis of Nick Young's performance to date -- don't know if I agree with it, but it's at least something with enough meat to argue about...

Posted by: Samson151 | January 26, 2011 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Hardwood Paroxysm put out a piece a couple of weeks ago on long 2s.

Boundary and Nexus: Maximizing Inefficiency

It's more interesting with Nick's stats handy.

Posted by: djnnnou | January 26, 2011 9:55 AM | Report abuse

"It's more interesting with Nick's stats handy.Posted by: djnnnou"

I didn't see that; thanks. I forget who called those 16-23 footers 'sh** shots', but you can see how many teams try to force opponents into taking them. The Denver game is an example of what happens when you allow a hot-shooting club to sit outside the arc and launch 3's.

You lose.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 26, 2011 10:27 AM | Report abuse

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