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Posted at 10:57 PM ET, 01/25/2011

Wizards can't keep pace with another potent offense

By Gene Wang

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."

By Gene Wang  | January 25, 2011; 10:57 PM ET
Categories:  John Wall  | Tags:  Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Open thread: Wizards (13-30) vs. Nuggets (25-18)
Next: Wizards looking forward to four-game road trip

Comments

Maybe Rashard Lewis can get more than 6 shots in the game, especially since he is getting paid more than the rest of the starters combined... Damn.

Posted by: Janitor_with_a_Jumpshot | January 26, 2011 12:56 AM | Report abuse

What this article says is just how pitiful the wizards ARE, HAVE BEEN , and WILL BE.

It praises all the good attributes of the other teams and tells you bluntly that the wizards have no such attributes.

Were'nt the Knicks one of the worst teams just last year and now one of the highest scoring teams? What a turnaround while the wizards and grunfeld have been trying for years and failing with each try, just like the redskins.

GET SOMEONE WHO CAN RECOGNIZE GOOD TALENT FOR GOD'S SAKE!

Posted by: keedrow | January 26, 2011 7:05 AM | Report abuse

The Wizards don't have a problem with talent; their problem is with coaching. Our players look unorganized and unprepared even when they are hustling. They win games in spite of the coach. I believe that we should withold judgement on our players until they are being coached properly. Flip is the reason for our terrible season!

Posted by: ree most | January 26, 2011 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Bit off topic, but I'm still working on why this organization let Haywood, Butler and Jamison go for a song last year. The latter 2 were the team's leaders. I can see letting long-in-the-tooth, defensively challenged AJ go. Haywood is clearly a better guy to have at the 5 than JaVale, who still is miles to go to be a reliable center in this league. Butler still has a lot of NBA life remaining and he'd be this team's leader and its best player (after possibly Wall) if he were still here. OK, so they wanted to clear some cap space, but gutting the team's best players and leaders? Dumb, dumb, dumb. Are they jockeying for lottery position every year? OK, my rant's over.

Posted by: randysbailin | January 26, 2011 7:51 AM | Report abuse

"Were'nt the Knicks one of the worst teams just last year and now one of the highest scoring teams?"

It should give us fans some hope. About what can result from a year of maturation plus the addition of a couple extremely helpful free agents. We shouldn't forget that D'Antoni's system always produces a lot of scoring; the questions have arisen in the playoffs.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 26, 2011 8:10 AM | Report abuse

"Bit off topic, but I'm still working on why this organization let Haywood, Butler and Jamison go for a song last year."

If I recall, they decided to dump the salary and start over. Had to be two reasons IMO: first, they were convinced that core group had missed its chance at contending, and second, they thought the franchise needed a fresh start with different players.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 26, 2011 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and as to why they got so little in return: that's what the market dictated at that time.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 26, 2011 8:16 AM | Report abuse

By dumping the salaries of the "Big 3" the Wiz have put themselves in the running to acquire a couple of big name free agents in the next couple of years. We all knew what their plan was when they made the move so we should not be surprised at what we are seeing now. The current team in place is just a way to allow JW to get some playing time and to evaluate everyone on the roster to see if they are work keeping when the rebuilding really begins.

I am hoping that when the new CBA is signed and the Wiz start to use the money they have available under the cap that they are able to bring in a couple of big named players and a couple of veterans to boot.

A front office and coaching change will definitely be in order once the rebuilding begins next year or the year after.

Anyone who didn't see this coming this season does not understand the game. The team is in a "transition" stage and that is what we a seeing night in and night out on the court. We are getting what we are paying for. Young kids that are still learning how to be an "NBA" player. It's just a shame that they do not have a coach that can really teach them. Hopefully that is on the TL's wish list...

Posted by: TEliasB | January 26, 2011 8:59 AM | Report abuse

TEliasB: The Wizards will be sorry 3 years from now. It's just the way things are around here. If they have better players by then, then they'll have the wrong coach. It's always something and they are always sorry so I don't see anything different in the next few years but we'll see.

To Randysballin - you say that Haywood is a reliable center? PLEASE! McGee is MUCH more active, athletic and exciting. Haywood is a veteran and STILL big, slow and 2 steps behind everyone else.

Posted by: keedrow | January 26, 2011 9:53 AM | Report abuse

"Bit off topic, but I'm still working on why this organization let Haywood, Butler and Jamison go for a song last year. The latter 2 were the team's leaders. I can see letting long-in-the-tooth, defensively challenged AJ go. Haywood is clearly a better guy to have at the 5 than JaVale, who still is miles to go to be a reliable center in this league. Butler still has a lot of NBA life remaining and he'd be this team's leader and its best player (after possibly Wall) if he were still here. OK, so they wanted to clear some cap space, but gutting the team's best players and leaders? Dumb, dumb, dumb. Are they jockeying for lottery position every year? OK, my rant's over."

Posted by: randysbailin | January 26, 2011 7:51 AM

And, like most rants, yours is fueled by emotion and ignores fact and logic.

The fact is, the Wizards were a lottery team with Jamison, Haywood, and Butler. But they were an old, expensive lottery team with few (if any) prospects for improvement. There was nothing to be gained by holding onto those guys. They weren't going to get any better than they were, and the team wasn't going to get any better depending on them. It was simply time to move on.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 26, 2011 11:32 AM | Report abuse

athletic and exciting
Posted by: keedrow

I agree with you that Haywood was definitely not worth keeping, and I'm not really picking on you (or only you) by highlighting the "athletic and exciting" in your post as qualities that make a player good.

I do, however, feel that too many of us (fans) get carried away by the promise of athleticism and excitement. Being able to display those qualities doesn't guarantee that a player will be a good, to say nothing of great.

I'm firmly in the camp that believes there's more to the game than run and jump.

Posted by: nmik | January 26, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse

This team is going absolutely no where until it gets rid of the GM and the current coaching staff.

Posted by: SBRUCE8 | January 26, 2011 3:35 PM | Report abuse

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