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Posted at 1:07 AM ET, 01/25/2011

Wizards prove to be repeat offenders, drop to 0-21 on the road

By Michael Lee

If only we could do this in the fourth quarter. (REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine)


It's almost getting to the point where I could turn my road game stories into a regular game of Madlibs. The Wizards (led/were tied/trailed by a small margin) early in the fourth quarter before they went (random number) minutes without a field goal and insert team name responded with a backbreaking run. Opposing player name broke out of his slump to score a season-high (random number) points.

But while most of their fans may be growing tired of losing in similar fashion almost every road game, the Wizards don't seem to be concerned with changing course, because they never seem to have the confidence or fight needed to finish games away from home. And on Monday at Madison Square Garden, the Wizards did everything they could to help the New York Knicks end a six-game losing streak. They took quick shots, looked unfocused and committed 20 turnovers, which contributed to 24 points for the home team. And, they dropped to 0-21 away from home.

The Wizards are another step closer to matching the 1992-93 Dallas Mavericks, who own the record for the longest losing streak to open a season with 29. They only have 20 more shots to win away from Verizon Center, so that they won't be like the 1990-91 Sacramento Kings, who lost their final 37 road games to finish 1-40 on the road.

"I'm not going to lie about that. If you lose on the road, you're going to think about it. You watch 'SportsCenter,' you're going to see what everybody's talking about: you not winning road games. It gets tough," John Wall said. "But for us to get them to stop talking about it, we've got to do what we've got to do on the road and get one."


No, this is not your night, sir. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

It's really amazing how the Wizards are unable to carryover their successes from home wins, but they always make the same mistakes on the road, no matter how far apart they are between road games. They beat Utah, then lose on the road to a Milwaukee team lacking Brandon Jennings, John Salmons and Carlos Delfino. They defeat the Boston Celtics -- c'mon, the Celtics -- and lose to a Knicks team that had lost six in a row.

Nick Young thought changing his hairstyle might help, but while he scored 22 points, his team didn't do anything different. Wall nearly had his second career triple-double with 18 points, nine assists and seven rebounds, but even his all-around efforts weren't enough.

Few expect the Wizards to be much more than a lottery team, but it shouldn't take this long for them to collect at least one road win. You'd figure they'd get at least one by accident. But they keep finding ways to make mistakes, including forgetting how to put on their clothes.

Kevin Seraphin is a rookie, but he's played enough games this season to know which direction his shorts should go on. But there he was taking off his shorts and turning them around on the bench in the second period, in one of the more awkward scenes you'll ever witness. His teammates had a good laugh over it, but there is little funny about this road mark, which continues to cloud anything else the Wizards may or may not accomplish.

"We don't care about the road record. We're trying to get a win," JaVale McGee said after scoring 15 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. "It just didn't work out."

For now, they will have to focus on the Denver Nuggets at home, before they embark on what will surely be a gruesome four-game trek through Oklahoma City, Memphis, Dallas and New Orleans. If the Wizards have any chance of changing their fortunes, they will have play more like they did in the second quarter, when Developmental League call up Mustafa Shakur engineered an incredible run, with McGee, Al Thornton, Trevor Booker and Rashard Lewis.

Knicks forward Wilson Chandler buried a three-pointer to give his team a 39-26 lead with 10:33 left in the second period when Saunders called on Shakur to spell Wall. And for the second game in a row, Shakur, signed to a 10-day contract last Saturday, responded and played so well that Wall wouldn't return for the rest of the half.

Thornton started a 23-6 run over the next five minutes with a 15-foot jumper. Booker helped out by converting a three-point play and later tossed a lob to McGee for a dunk. McGee had a rebound tip to bring tie the game at 45, then Booker had a driving layup to give the Wizards the lead, forcing Knicks Coach Mike D'Antoni to call a timeout. Shakur extended the lead to 49-45 when he hit a long jumper. He later gave the Wizards a 58-53 with another pull-up jumper.

"We played with heart," said Booker, who had seven points and five rebounds. "Sometimes in the game, the players weren't going hard. Second quarter, that group that was going in, played with a lot of energy and played with a lot of heart."

But despite providing a boost, the second unit was used sparingly in the second half, which was surprising given how poorly Andray Blatche had been playing. Thornton had scored 10 points in the first half, but wasn't called upon until it was too late, while Blatche had one of his more forgettable games of the season. Saunders said he was "terrible" and it was hard to dispute him, as Blatche finished with six points and five rebounds and appeared to be somewhere else the entire night.

Blatche's problems started early on as he took a few rushed jumpers and even shot a layup over the rim. He didn't seem to recover in the second half, at one point backing down Chandler in the post and decided to kick it out to McGee at the foul line, which is rarely a good idea. He had unforced errors, driving and dribbling the ball out of bounds and throwing the ball threw McGee's hands and toward the Wizards' bench.

Saunders wondered how his team could lack the energy to finish after most of his starters got plenty of rest during that second-quarter run, but added "they lost some of their purpose."

The Wizards might want to work a little harder to find it.

"Same story for us on the road," Blatche said. "I don't know. It's no more excuses. No more nothing. I don't know what to tell you. It's getting to the point where we can't even feel sorry for ourselves no more."

By Michael Lee  | January 25, 2011; 1:07 AM ET
Categories:  Andray Blatche, JaVale McGee, Mustafa Shakur, Nick Young, Trevor Booker  
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Next: Nick Young says he needs to be more vocal

Comments

At least Mike doesn't have to do the video recaps like last year:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/wizardsinsider/2010/02/celtics-99-wizards-88.html

Mike's face grew longer with each of Les Boules' losing streaks. Then he just quit doing them altogether. He thought he was gonna get to cover EG's much heralded 4th Best Team in the East lol.

Geico Trivia Question:
What else do the Whiz have in common with the 1992-93 Dallas Mavericks?

Posted by: prescrunk | January 25, 2011 5:39 AM | Report abuse

But despite providing a boost, the second unit was used sparingly in the second half, which was surprising

but it's not the coach

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 25, 2011 6:38 AM | Report abuse

As much as people don't want to assign blame to Flip, I thought this sentence was very telling:

"But despite providing a boost, the second unit was used sparingly in the second half, which was surprising"

If the second unit was effective, why take them out? What does Flip have to do (or not do) for him to get some of the blame for this mess?

"We played with heart," said Booker, who had seven points and five rebounds. "Sometimes in the game, the players weren't going hard. Second quarter, that group that was going in, played with a lot of energy and played with a lot of heart."

Posted by: tundey | January 25, 2011 7:22 AM | Report abuse

"Blatche's problems started early on as he took a few rushed jumpers and even shot a layup over the rim. He didn't seem to recover in the second half, at one point backing down Chandler in the post and decided to kick it out to McGee at the foul line, which is rarely a good idea. He had unforced errors, driving and dribbling the ball out of bounds and throwing the ball threw McGee's hands and toward the Wizards' bench."

I suppose that's it in a nutshell. The return of Bad Andray -- a character we've seen a lot of this season.

When Blatche plays well, the Wiz are much more likely to win. Probably because he's been our only real option inside.

We've had the odd good episode of interior play from Rashard and Yi, but nobody mistakes them for inside players.

Turns out Blatche isn't either. He keeps wanting to edge out there to Nowitzkiville and pump jumpers.

So the coach sits Andray and who fills that role? It's not just playing hard that we need (although that never hurts), it's somebody who can deliver consistently.

I think somebody mentioned that despite their 6 game losing streak, the Knicks were 7 point favorites going into the game, and still 5 point favorites in spite of being tied at the half.

That's not an accident.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 25, 2011 7:39 AM | Report abuse

I know I'm pointing out the obvious, but it's not just effort required to close out the fourth quarter on the road. It's skill. That's what the team is missing.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 25, 2011 7:42 AM | Report abuse

BTW, Amare Stoudemire is a really good player. In that D'Antoni system, at least.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 25, 2011 7:44 AM | Report abuse

Kevin Seraphin is a rookie, but he's played enough games this season to know which direction his shorts should go on
-------------------------------------------
Correct. Usually by game 10 an NBA player has figured out that the label goes in the back and the drawstring is in the front.

Posted by: randysbailin | January 25, 2011 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Flip needs to coach rather than just putting 5 guys on the floor.How can any good coach leave AB on the floor when he is not hustling ,not scoring and doing nothing but dribbling the ball off his feet or out of bounds?Flip has to take responsibility for this teams poor performance.Put guys in the game who are hustling and showing heart.By-the-way ,there are times when JW should be on the bench resting, then he would not have so many turnovers.Flip try coaching these guys you may be surprised how many more wins the team will have.

Posted by: joyron52 | January 25, 2011 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Between the coaching staff and the players, this team couldn't find its way out of a really large paper bag w/ a GPS.

Posted by: randysbailin | January 25, 2011 8:43 AM | Report abuse

"Saunders said he was "terrible" and it was hard to dispute him, as Blatche finished with six points and five rebounds and appeared to be somewhere else the entire night."

Yet he continues to get consistent minutes despite bad play? On a night when T. Booker is bringing it and Yi has been playing solid of late he plays Blatche starters minutes in the 2nd half.

Flip is strict and stern with some players and absent in disciplining with others (Blatche, Wall and Hinrich) when its deserving, very frustrating to watch and I'm sure its frustrating cor the other players on the team.

Posted by: zxhoya | January 25, 2011 8:43 AM | Report abuse

"BTW, Amare Stoudemire is a really good player. In that D'Antoni system, at least.
Posted by: Samson151"


He really is and I don't think D'Antonio's system is the reason. There's not much Amarie can't do with his strength, speed, and athleticism and if he played for the Wizards I believe he would be just as effective at least stats wise. Imo. He's the perfect pick-and-roll forward.

Posted by: zxhoya | January 25, 2011 8:59 AM | Report abuse

many people thought amare was nothing without nash, that looks pretty foolish now.

Posted by: divi3 | January 25, 2011 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Javale started out the game playing well and was taken out of the game halfway through first quarter for Saraphin. Again was playing well in the third quarter and was taken out again halfway and didn't get back in until about 8 mins left in 4th quarter.

Posted by: bobilly2 | January 25, 2011 9:36 AM | Report abuse

I used to be indifferent in regards to Flip's coaching style, but last night changed my opinion of him completely. He has no fire, the team is running wild and he isn't doing anything about it, instead he encourages it with his awful sub rotation. One of his mistakes was he left Blatche in for the 3rd and 4th quarter and his defense was just awful. There is no fire in this team, a perfect example is when Stoudamire just owned the lane and would do whatever he wanted in there, man up and hammer the guy let him know that he isn't going to get any easy points in the lane. I also witnessed horrendous offense from the wiz. Numerous times players are just standing there watching as either Blatche, NY, or JW dribble around at the top of the key, set picks, swing the ball around do something but don't just stand there. The final straw was in the last 3 minutes of the game when we didn't get the charge call, Flip didn't do anything as a coach you sometimes need to set the tempo for your team and get them fired up. In this case Flip should have been yelling at the refs and tried to get ejected show some passion, get your team angry but instead he pulled a passive aggressive discussion with the ref. Leonsis GET A NEW COACH, someone who is passionate and can push a team when needed.

Posted by: newschoolbullets | January 25, 2011 9:42 AM | Report abuse

John Wall needs to be benched...this may sound crazy to some but if you watched him last night, he was out of control, yes he had around 19 points but he plays no defense and he made stupid decisions that led to turnovers. John needs to get a reality check and realize he cannot settle for this type of playing. He has become satisfied with the way he and the wizards have been playing. ENOUGH the whole starting lineup minus Lewis should be benched send them a wake up call, they are the laziest team I have ever seen all they care about is offense. John Wall is trying to claim leadership but how can you lead when you make the same mistakes as everyone else does on your team. As a leader you lead by example and that means playing smarter defense that means stop cheating over in order to try and get a steal but sticking your man and staying in front. Also means Boxing Out your man and swinging the ball around the horn instead of settling for the first pass and then shooting. PASS the BALL AROUND, passing gets there quicker then dribbling this is fundamentals folks.

Posted by: newschoolbullets | January 25, 2011 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Again was playing well in the third quarter and was taken out again halfway and didn't get back in until about 8 mins left in 4th quarter. bobilly2

I don't know what game you were watching in the second half but Javale was playing awful. He was playing like a girl, Amare was hammering it on him like he was like grass in the wind. He at one point was so lazy on a rebound that he nonchalantly tried to grab it with one hand and instead lost it. He wasn't boxing out and Knicks big men were getting down the court quicker then him.

Posted by: newschoolbullets | January 25, 2011 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Blatche doesn't look like a well conditioned player. He looked tired last night & was very flat footed. He needs to work on adding more lift to his jumps.

Posted by: bdunkadunk | January 25, 2011 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I waiting for the pictures of 'Dray out late in NYC the night before.

Posted by: OutsideTheLaw | January 25, 2011 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Samson151,

Hindsight is what it is, but last night Yi deserved more than a 1 minute look -- especially since Blatche wasn't bringing much of anything on offense or defense.

I agree that when the Good Andray decides to make an appearance, he's the best all-around option that the Wizards have at the 4, but if he's playing sloppy and three-quarters speed he's hurting more than helping.

If Josh Howard returns this season that might provide some relief since he can providing help defense in the post. Who knows -- maybe you go with Hilton Armstong and McGee in the front court. You sacrifice something on offense, but Armstrong is at least willing to work the boards on both ends of the court. You've got to try something.

Posted by: JPRS | January 25, 2011 12:35 PM | Report abuse

newschoolbullets,

Wall had an OK game. He started attacking the basket when no one else was able to convert open looks. He was getting to the free-throw line. On defense he didn't shut down Felton, but Felton didn't go off either (Stoudamire did in transition).

Shakur had a good game too -- at least for the stretch that he played in the second quarter against the Knicks second-unit. At this point though you're not going to bench Wall for Shakur.

Posted by: JPRS | January 25, 2011 12:46 PM | Report abuse

newschoolbullets,

We definitely weren't watching the same game.

1. The Wizards retained possession in that one instance where McGee went after a rebound with one hand (a bad play on McGee's part).

2. McGee was pushing the floor well against Stoudamire in the first half. Stoudamire went off in the second half.

15 points on 9 attempts, with 10 rebounds, only 1 turnover, and 1 block with a point differential of zero.

It may be hard to believe, but the Wizards actually out-rebounded the Knicks with McGee leading the team too.

NewSchool you've got to meet Old School (Bullets78). You all will definitely hit it off. Plenty of room for the haters.

Posted by: JPRS | January 25, 2011 12:57 PM | Report abuse

There are politics in the NBA along with all aspects of professional sports. Unfortunately the players that earn the most $$$ will get the majority of playing time. I'm an Arenas fan but Nick Young should have played over him...Gil makes $100 Million. Fan's want to see the stars first, winning comes second...at least in DC.

Posted by: Gooddad | January 25, 2011 1:02 PM | Report abuse

15 points on 9 attempts, with 10 rebounds, only 1 turnover, and 1 block with a point differential of zero.

I'm willing to bet Javale caused 6 missed shots last night despite only getting 1 block. Doesnt show in the stat sheet, so I guess that's an "intangible."

I want to see Seraphin or Booker next to Mcgee for a few stretches.

Posted by: divi3 | January 25, 2011 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Gooddad,

The Wizards felt comfortable enough with Young to ship Arenas off to Orlando. Even Flip has said that he thought Young was playing better than Arenas to start the season.

Part of the challenge with a guy like Arenas too was that you had all that money tied up in his contract and there was the hope against hope that he just might return to something close to his old form. There was no way that he'd return to form without a chance to get some action during the regular season. Even when Arenas was here -- starting around game 7 Young was getting 30 minutes a game and was usually the first guy to get minutes off the bench.

In Orlando too, the Magic don't seem to be dishing out minutes based on the size of player contracts. What you say has some truth, but there are always exceptions.

Posted by: JPRS | January 25, 2011 1:17 PM | Report abuse

divi3,

We've seen some action with Booker and McGee. In the case of Seraphin I guess it's probably a case where neither he nor McGee get much work at PF. I agree with you though. Still a half a season to go.

Posted by: JPRS | January 25, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Wow. The Wiz seem to have so many problems. Consistency being the biggest. They have very talented players. BUT effort and Basketball IQ seem to be lacking most every game. They become very undisciplined at the end of games. How many times do we see a player in a shooting slump going 1 on 1 at the end of a game with the team within a few points and tossing up garbage, still trying to shoot his way out of the slump? Pass to the guy who has been scoring! This group breaks down too easy . . . looses team mentality. Wiz have too many guys that would be great bench players but usually can't produce off the bench. And pout when they don't start. I hate to say it but this team needs 5 or 6 new, smart basketball players and someone that will chew their a**es and challenge them as men! Dang it, these guys are frustrating!

Posted by: okelley2nd | January 25, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

"The Wizards felt comfortable enough with Young to ship Arenas off to Orlando."
Posted by: JPRS

I don't know that they had much choice. Risk hanging on to that Arenas contract for another season or two? Even Rashard's overblown deal looked preferable to that.

I don't think anyone expected Lewis to turn out to be the player he has been, however.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 25, 2011 2:47 PM | Report abuse

"I'm willing to bet Javale caused 6 missed shots last night despite only getting 1 block. Doesnt show in the stat sheet, so I guess that's an "intangible."

Hey, maybe he's a glue guy!

Posted by: Samson151 | January 25, 2011 2:48 PM | Report abuse

When is Saunders going to come realization that Blatche is not a starter in this league. The guy is way too soft...he needs to come off the bench. Seraphin needs to be starting.

Also, they're defensive intensity is non-existent. They show no sense of urgency in the second half. It's as if they don't expect their opponent to step their game up in the second half.

Saunders also needs to have them run some sort of offensive set so when their opponents DO step up their defense, there won't be 5 guys standing around sitting on their thumbs.

GEEEEEEEEZZZZ guys...this is not rocket science. C'MON!!!

Posted by: carterm1 | January 25, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Seraphin needs to be starting.

played 15mins last night:

0-0, 0-0, 0pts, 3rebs, 3fouls and did nothing to prevent Amare from running wild in the paint.

It's a bit too early to ask Keveen to take over full-time starting PF duties despite how poorly Blatche is playing

Posted by: divi3 | January 25, 2011 5:03 PM | Report abuse

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