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Posted at 1:37 AM ET, 02/26/2011

John Wall, Nick Young combine for 62 points, Wizards come up short in Miami

By Michael Lee

I may not drop dimes, but I drop buckets. (By Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)


John Wall's first game against Miami's SuperFriends got off to an unusual start. On the opening tip, Heat center Erick Dampier knocked the ball about 47 feet over his head and it went out of bounds. After Rashard Lewis missed a three-pointer, Dwyane Wade grabbed a rebound and uncorked a full-length pass for LeBron James but the results were nothing like that brilliant, beautiful full-court alley-oop in Indiana last week.

The ball soared well past James, but Wall tried to chase it down, diving over the front row seats behind the basket -- around where rapper Lil Wayne watched the game. A few minutes later, JaVale McGee grabbed a rebound and tossed an outlet pass to Young. James tried to get a steal but Young saved it and hurdled the scorers' table before lunging into reporters in the second row.

It was an early show of hustle from Wall and Young, who kept the Wizards competitive as they tried to incorporate three newcomers -- Mike Bibby, Maurice Evans and Jordan Crawford -- and Andray Blatche was forced to sit with a right hip strain. The duo combined to score 62 points, only four fewer than Wade and James, who were able to score -- and close out the game.

Wade had 41 points, with 14 coming in the fourth quarter, and James had easily the quietest 25 points, nine rebounds and seven assists that I've ever seen from him. But both players spoke with Wall afterward, offering words of encouragement, after he scored 24 points and handed out 12 assists in a 121-113 defeat.

"It's good to play against other great players and get compliments, but you also want to come away with a win," Wall said. Wade "told me, it's been a tough season so far. Keep working hard and don't stop leading your team."

Wall didn't stop against the Heat, as he showed off his blazing speed, twice blowing past James for incredible layups. He has been playing at a high level in his past five games, averaging 21.2 points and 9.8 assists. He has had back-to-back games with at least 20 points and 10 assists for the first time this season.

Since returning from the all-star break in Los Angeles, Wall has been wearing Allen Iverson's signature Reeboks, the Question, but he said that he hasn't abandoned the ZigTechs. Reebok is designing some special ZigTechs in different colors and he's wearing the Iverson's in the interim. As for his inspired play of late, it's not the shoes.

"I just think, since all-star, I picked up the confidence in my play," Wall said. "Being more smarter, getting assists and scoring with a couple of teammates down. I learned by taking some time off."


I drop dimes -- and buckets. (By Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Young also had a great battle with Wade, as both players took turns torching each other and hitting ridiculous shots. Wade, of course, hit the shots with the highest degree of difficulty, as he made them from almost every spot on the floor. He hit high floaters over McGee, three-pointers with a hand in his face and did a silly yo-yo dribble to juke newcomer Maurice Evans before hitting a jumper.

"It was nothing we did wrong in my opinion," Evans said of defending Wade. "A lot of times, hands were in his face and he's still finishing, finishing over McGee, he's pump-faking, holding in the air, still finishing. It was impressive, off a back-to-back that he came out with that much energy. He had such a great rhythm."

Josh Howard surely had flashbacks to Game 3 of the 2006 NBA Finals, when Wade single-handedly destroyed the Dallas Mavericks. Coach Flip Saunders said he felt like he was back coaching the Detroit Pistons against the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. "He shot 75 percent in a series against us," Saunders said of Wade. "You couldn't do much, because the shots he was taking and making were some circus shots."

Young tried to keep up, scoring 38 points, even when he had a scare in the third quarter when James appeared to pull the rug out from under him on a fastbreak layup. Young missed, but he landed awkwardly on his left foot and was in so much pain that he had to slip off his shoe before limping off. He had his foot re-taped and scored 11 more points, hitting back-to-back three pointers in the fourth quarter.

"I'm one of the top scorers on the team, and if I don't get going, it's hard, that's a lot of points gone," said Young, who surpassed his scoring total from the previous two games combined (31 points). "My teammates needed, so I just came back out [after the ankle injury]. I got to have their back every night."

It's funny how the Wizards opened the season by touting their talent in the backcourt, but after trading away Kirk Hinrich and Gilbert Arenas, it remains their strongest position with Young and Wall. Young plays with his mind focused on getting buckets and nothing more, but Young can be quite entertaining when he gets on a roll, as he did in Miami.

But the problem that the Wizards will have to overcome -- something that Cleveland realizes without James and Denver will realize without Carmelo Anthony -- is that superstars have a way of finishing, of making sure that their scoring outbursts come at a time when it matters most.

Good players can score; great players can close. It's not just about being a veteran; it's about knowing how to take over games and that comes with experience and opportunity. James and Wade have it, along with immense talent and game-seizing instincts. "They got great players who have been in more situations like that. They know how to put it away," Young said of the Heat.

Wall said he was satisfied with the effort of the Wizards after they failed to show up against Indiana and Philadelphia. And Young said the Wizards would have to keep competing like that, with a tough schedule that features games against Dallas on Saturday and the Chicago Bulls on Monday.

"We all came together tonight. I was one of them nights, we was gelling and I hope we continue this. We got playoff contenders coming up. If we keep battling like this, we can beat one of them teams."

By Michael Lee  | February 26, 2011; 1:37 AM ET
Categories:  Flip Saunders, John Wall, Nick Young  
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Next: Andray Blatche questionable against Dallas

Comments

The Wiz play great, or at least their intensity level is where it should be, and the team is gelling.

What changed?

Blatche didn't play and Kirk and Hilton got traded.

Wounder which one of them prevents gelling and lacked intensity?

Posted by: jaguar2490 | February 26, 2011 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Anyone notice we didn't miss Blatche at all?

Posted by: Janitor_with_a_Jumpshot | February 26, 2011 2:05 AM | Report abuse

Me.

Posted by: glawrence007 | February 26, 2011 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Andrea Blatche has potential and room for growth if he ("c" and/or "w"-pick a letter)ould just play to his ability and stop acting like he needs to score the ball every time he touches it (wonder why he and McGee hang out together). The flow was better last night as well as the team energy. John Wall still making a ton of mistakes and turnovers trying to do a little too much. I look at this game and say they're getting better and then tonight, they'll have an effortless outing and the frustration is back again. Go Wizards?

Posted by: zack5 | February 26, 2011 9:24 AM | Report abuse

the wizards played well compared to against indy and philly. but the superfriends played better

Posted by: jefferu | February 26, 2011 9:29 AM | Report abuse

More fallout from the NBA trades:

1. suddenly PF Troy Murphy is hot. Avery Johnson benched him in NJ (inexplicably to some) & now he's in Golden State. But the Celts and the Heat are both interested. A buyout candidate.

2. Joel Przybilla, now in Charlotte, is another that both clubs and the Magic would look at.

3. Couple of trades that didn't happen: OJ Mayo to Indy or Chicago; Marcus Camby to one of the East contenders.

4.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 26, 2011 10:04 AM | Report abuse

4. SI talks about the possibility of an 'amnesty' clause that may appear in the next CBA -- where owners will be able to exclude one existing contract from the salary cap -- in the context of Cleveland's decision to take on Baron Davis.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 26, 2011 10:07 AM | Report abuse

I think it is fairly obvious as this stage that Andray Blatche is holding the Wizards back. Plain and simple: his games does not fit with the way we want to play. Problem is, his game doesn’t fit the way any winning team wants to play. I have been lobbying for a trade for some time now, but have come to the realization that his contract makes it a nearly impossible task. I want the wizards to win games by playing through john wall with nick young being used as the primary scoring option, similar to how the Celtics use Ray Allen. With this approach, we need big men who can defend as a #1 priority. They need to protect the paint and force other teams to take contested jump shots. I think McGee will be at his best coming off the ball to defend the rim, but to do this he needs a PF that can make the defensive switches and help work. The wing players in this system are already on the roster in Josh Howard and Rashard Lewis. Why EG gave Blatche a $28 million extension still shocks me because his statistics over the final 32 games of last year came on a team without a winner’s mentality. Sure Dre was getting his, but the team went 5-20 in March and April. Here are my recommendations to fix the problem using trades this offseason (player/team options notwithstanding);
•Option a; Trade Blatche and the Wizards first round pick to move up a spot or two in the draft for Jared Sullinger. Sullinger’s polished low-post game and huge potential make him a future star. He is a big body who can maintain a presence in the lane for years.
•Option b; Trade Blatche, Trevor Booker and a pick to Memphis for Marc Gasol and Tony Allen. Gasol is young, can defend, score when needed, and has the ability to provide leadership on defense. Allen would be a nice back-up to Nick Young who can defend opposing scorers. I think this only has a chance if the Wizards include a talent like Booker as well as a pick.
•Option c; Trade Blatche and Al Thornton to Cleveland for Anderson Varejao and Joey Graham. The salaries would match only with the inclusion of Thornton, and I think this would be sufficient for Cleveland, a team that is desperate for size and scoring in the frontcourt. Blatche’s salary would be ok for their payroll and Varejao can provide much needed defense and energy for Was. He thrived with LeBron and should be quite capable to play with Wall because he can run the court, draw the charge, and set a good pick.
•Option d; Trade Blatche, Al Thornton, and Maurice Evans to Golden State for Vladimir Radmanovich and Dorrell Wright. The salaries match here as well but it’s a desperate plea to a team who plays no defense (Golden State) to take a guy who plays no defense (Blatche). This trade would give Golden State size up-front and rid of a contract(radmanovich)for a role player.
Overall, I think that Blatche leaving would parallel a climb in the standings for the Wizards. The Wizards need players dedicated to winning by playing defense and accepting roles. EG help!

Posted by: mbattaglia08 | February 26, 2011 10:50 AM | Report abuse

We've always gotten a bump in energy and effort when fresh blood arrives. Then, a revert back to form always occurrs.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | February 26, 2011 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Why EG gave Blatche a $28 million extension still shocks me because his statistics over the final 32 games of last year came on a team without a winner’s mentality. Sure Dre was getting his, but the team went 5-20 in March and April.

Posted by: mbattaglia08 | February 26, 2011 10:50 AM |


If Baltche goes, EG needs to go. EG runs this team like he's trading basketball cards. Les BouleZ are a revolving door to would-be unemployed basketball players like Tupac Shakur, Lester Hudson, Dee Brown, Earl the Squirrel, the French kids, and is Gee Wiz still on the team? I can't remember.

EG trades away players just to trade players, trades away draft picks for cash, clowns out with the draft pics he does keep, and then wastes everyone's time with his press conferences concerning his latest "deal". Whats scary is that Ted doesn't know much about basketball, which means EG is his mentor. Which means Les BouleZ will spend this decade much like they spent the last one... each season's record worse than the previous one...


At least Abe used to get the guys a Costco cake when 'Twan would make the all-star team as a reserve... Did Ted get JaVale a cake for finishing runner-up in the dunk contest?

86EG!!

Sincerely

LES BOULEZ PROPHET III

Posted by: prescrunk | February 26, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: prescrunk | February 26, 2011 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I'm thinking we fans seem to need a scapegoat around here. There's always the coach and GM of course, but Blatche seems to be the new favorite among the players.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 26, 2011 12:01 PM | Report abuse

For a guy like Javale McGee to get 18pts and 17r's against a good team like the Miami Heat, it's quite peculiar how a player accused of haveing no basic basketball skills and intellect could accomplish that against such a very good NBA Team.

He makes the same silly mistakes over and over again and Flip and the staff has every right to bench/rail on him each and every time. Isn't that correct Kalo and SD?

However, McGee played 36 minutes last night and remember I said just let him play. I indicated basically, just take the bad with the good and he probably would be a more fruitful player.

I think last's night game was proof in the pudding to my assertion. Just let the fella play.

For the round of criticism laid upon Mr. McGee on this board by SDMDSTSU, Kalo_rama, and others you would think Javale was a pure novice to the game and wears his shorts backwards, can't shoot, dribble, rebound, or block a shot.

Did yawl' see those comments how they went on Mr. McGee yesterday?

18 points and 17 rebounds against the Heat. Certainly the player they described should not be capable of that.

Should I remind the McGee detractors that he is second on this Team in double doubles to Wall.

As they used to joke about Michael Jordan, in that Dean Smith's system was the only thing that could stop him from scoring, the only thing holding McGee back is Flip Saunder's system and his penchant to send him to the bench for each and every misstep.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | February 26, 2011 12:07 PM | Report abuse

It's no secret that the team plays better without Blatche. He is a complementary player at best but acts like a primary player. I don't think he understands how his play negatively impacts the team's accountability on both ends. But labeling him as the sole scapegoat is probably a bit unfair because his contract and status on the team was perpetuated by EG, Eddie Jordan and Ed Tapscott among others. Entertainment for me is winning bball games and I think we need professionals to get it done and support Wall, Young and others.

Posted by: mbattaglia08 | February 26, 2011 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Another stat of note: Seraphin collecting 7 boards in 11 minutes. Sounds like the Heat forgot to block out inside.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 26, 2011 12:30 PM | Report abuse

@prescrunk,

Are you appearing to indicate that it would be good for the organization to have some type of good formal recognition for their players being selected and performing in the All-Star Gala?

I don't think Flip cares much for the Slam Dunk contest. Surely, he wouldn't or hasn't appeared to, that we know of recognize McGee in a positive way for just dunking a mere ball through the hoop.

Butchakno' good fella, dunking is an intrical part of the game isn't it?

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | February 26, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

The contract that Blatche has is a good contract for him and the Wizards. How quickly we forget when it was first done that the board basically agreed that the contract doesn't hamstring the Wizards.

It still doesn't IMO and Blatche is recovering from what appears to be a serious foot injury. If he fully recovers, that contract is moveable and if he is what we thought he was when he signed it, to keep him would be a bargain.

But however, things will work itself out in the Blatche situation. Foolishness can trump everything, can't it fellows? No need to scream about the contract.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | February 26, 2011 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Another stat of note: Seraphin collecting 7 boards in 11 minutes. Sounds like the Heat forgot to block out inside.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 26, 2011 12:30 PM

Maybe so, but Seraphin is really a tough fella and he does have a nose for the ball and a nice touch once he gets it as well.

And to your point, it may be why the Heat tried to get Haywood from Dallas. Now isn't that something?

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | February 26, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Nobody's saying it so I will. A couple nights after going 9-10 from the floor and tying a career high would seem like an ideal time to start Trevor Booker with Andray Blatche out. Right? Any other coach in the league would have gone that route except for the vet-loving Saunders, who started a gimpy and ineffectual Lewis instead. And played Mo Evans--who had not even participated in the morning shootaround--ahead of Booker.

I'm not saying that Saunders is necessarily a "bad" coach. His record will have to speak for itself. But could there possibly be a worse one for developing young talent?

Posted by: KTV1 | February 26, 2011 1:35 PM | Report abuse

I don't see the need to beat up on Andray Blatche. He didn't play. The speculation from some posters seems to be: "See how well the Wiz play without Andray." Guess what, the Wizards LOST without Andray.

Rashard Lewis, Yi Jianlian, and "Keveen" combined for 13 points. A healthy Blatche would have exceeded that total. Seraphin did nice defensive work, but he's useless on the offensive end.

Admittedly, a healthy Blatche could have done little to slow LeBron or Bosh, but nobody else is effective against them either. If Blatche had been healthy and if he had started, once Miami's SuperFriends forced him to foul out, we could have brought Kevin Seraphin into the game. My primary focus is on the additional offensive numbers Dray would have brought that might have resulted in a victory as opposed to the 8 point loss.

People need to get over their personal dislike for Andray. I'm not crazy about him, but we sure could have used his 18 points and 8 boards last night.

BTW, Nick Young is a B-A-A-A-A-A-D Man!

Posted by: musicmanjr | February 26, 2011 2:10 PM | Report abuse

@LarryInClintonMD .. your right that the contract is not horrendous, but my point is that his contract has validated his bad play. I don't think he is willing to play a side role to help the team win. This makes it difficult for a trade to occur because other teams don't want to pay a roll player $30 million. All I hear is excuses from Blatche anyway. Is he in the news right now for helping the team win basketball games or for twitter? Andray Blatche is emblematic of the type of players you don't want on a professional basketball team. By moving him, you send a message to the team about what type of behavior warrants contract extensions. This is especially important when you are trying to create a hierarchy around a rookie in Wall. See OKC. See CHI. See LAC.


Posted by: prescrunk | February 26, 2011 2:32 PM | Report abuse

BTW, Nick Young is a B-A-A-A-A-A-D Man!

How far has young Nicholas come that he drops 38pts on Miami and folks are talking about something else?? Two great things I noticed last night were that 1)Wade did most of his surreal damage with Nick on the bench and 2)NY had a fierce look in his eye, not the smiles we've seen in the past.

He really seems to be emerging from this mess of a season, will be interesting see how much they're willing to pay him. Wall/Young backcourt looks to be potentially lethal

Posted by: divi3 | February 26, 2011 2:33 PM | Report abuse

"BTW, Nick Young is a B-A-A-A-A-A-D Man!
Posted by: musicmanjr "

Well, sometimes. The line from his previous two games:

Phila: 32 min, 6-15FGs, 2-3 3pts, 1-1FTs, 2rbs, 0assts, 0stls, 0 blks, 1 TO, 3PFs

Indy: 33 min, 4-15FGs, 2-4 3pts, 6-7FTs, 5rbs, 2assts, 0stls, 0blks, 2TOs, 3PFs

Nothing embarrassing, but nothing to write home about. Not a criticism, really; just a note of reality.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 26, 2011 2:36 PM | Report abuse

I call this post "Choice Of Smoke Or Dangerous Drug!"

•Option b; Trade Blatche, Trevor Booker and a pick to Memphis for Marc Gasol and Tony Allen. Gasol is young. . .

This is what I call "KUSH LIGHT"
Why would you trade for M Gasol when T Booker is in his 1st yr with tons of potential. Looks like he can be the make up pick for not drafting D Blair. Who's spot would you play T Allen?

This is probably "PUT THE CRACK PIPE DOWN"
•Option c; Trade Blatche and Al Thornton to Cleveland for Anderson Varejao and Joey Graham.

Why would Cleveland consider this trade unless you and Mr. Quicken/Fathead Dan Gilbert were at the same crack house and you convinced him that he should trade away his BEST low post player for a player that is a turnover machine and won't mix it up or even play in the paint?

I'll call this "Low Buzz cronic"
•Option d; Trade Blatche, Al Thornton, and Maurice Evans to Golden State for Vladimir Radmanovich and Dorrell Wright.

Not a bad trade but A Blatche seems to be the cornerstone in this trade. The nightlife in Golden State is nothing like DC. Also, all of your trades include a player that nobody wants. His cap number desn't match his production on the floor.

Now that my high has come down, GIVE ME OPTION E!

Posted by: zack5 | February 26, 2011 2:46 PM | Report abuse

"BTW, Nick Young is a B-A-A-A-A-A-D Man!
Posted by: musicmanjr "

Well, sometimes. The line from his previous two games:

Phila: 32 min, 6-15FGs, 2-3 3pts, 1-1FTs, 2rbs, 0assts, 0stls, 0 blks, 1 TO, 3PFs

Indy: 33 min, 4-15FGs, 2-4 3pts, 6-7FTs, 5rbs, 2assts, 0stls, 0blks, 2TOs, 3PFs

Nothing embarrassing, but nothing to write home about. Not a criticism, really; just a note of reality.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 26, 2011 2:36 PM | Report abuse

And you know what, a .300 hitter makes an out seven times out of ten at bats.

Why don't we focus on the excitement that Nick brings to an otherwise moribund team?

Posted by: musicmanjr | February 26, 2011 3:19 PM | Report abuse

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