Wizards can't keep pace with another potent offense
The Washington Wizards tonight played their third game in four against an opponent that prefers an accelerated pace. Compounding matters was that the Denver Nuggets are the NBA's highest scoring team (107.4 points per game) with a veteran point guard and an surplus of big men as liable to make long jumpers as they are to post up.
Add to that the Wizards playing a second game in as many nights and in the midst of eight games in 11 days, and it was hardly surprising they were on the short end of a 120-109 result at Verizon Center.
The difference early was guard Chauncey Billups, who had 12 points in the first quarter on 4-for-4 shooting, including 2 of 2 from three-point range. Billups finished with 15 points and six assists without a turnover. The closer late was Al Harrington, a reserve forward who made 6 of 8 three-pointers to finish with 21 points. Harrington's two three-pointers in the final minutes all but secured the win after the Wizards had drawn to 107-97.
The Wizards surrendered their third most points this season and yielded 100-plus points for the third time in four games. The only team that failed to reach triple digits against Washington during that stretch was Boston, which lost, 85-83, on Saturday at Verizon Center.
Before last night, Washington had lost to the New York Knicks, 115-106, and Phoenix, 109-97.
"The three games that we've lost, our last three games, all the teams are basically clones of each other," Coach Flip Saunders said. "If you look at New York, Denver and Phoenix, all three of those team are top three scoring teams in the league. They're all teams that have the ability with a point guard that creates in the open floor. They're the top three-point shooting teams, and they all have what I call stretch forwards who can pop out and take threes."
The Knicks' combination in that regard was Raymond Felton and Wilson Chandler. Felton had 17 points and 15 assists, and Chandler scored 25 points, making 4 of 8 three-pointers. New York is second in the NBA in points per game (106.7).
The Suns did it with Steve Nash, who had 14 assists, and Channing Frye, who hit 7 of 11 three-pointers. Phoenix is averaging 105.8 points per game, third in the league.
"It's two different types of teams," said Wall, who finished with 13 assists and 10 points against Denver. "The Celtics are a team that's not really looking to push it. They're going to stay within themselves for a slow game. This team is one of the top scoring teams. I think when we got it close, we took a quick shot, and that's what these type of teams want you to do, take a quick shot, so they can come down and get an easy basket. I think we just did a terrible job of managing our shots and execution."
| January 25, 2011; 10:57 PM ET
Categories: John Wall | Tags: Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets
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