Wizards Report December 11Posted on January 14, 2013 by DJ-WizardsRadio
By Dave Johnson
The Wizards week begins in the place known as the Big Easy, but there is nothing easy about it. Not that there has been mach easy about this 2012/2013 season for the Washington Wizards, but tonight in New Orleans against the Hornets begins a stretch of four games in five days.
Here is today’s Wizards Report:
After tonight’s game in New Orleans, the Wizards move on to play the Rockets Wednesday in Houston. The Wizards will enjoy a day off on Thursday before playing the Lakers Friday at home in their only visit to D.C. and then the Heat on Saturday in Miami.
The last time:
The Wizards played in March of last season in New Orleans on the trade deadline day. It was day of waiting and then in the early afternoon there was word that the Wizards had traded both JaVale McGee and Nick Young. With only ten healthy players odds were not in the Wizards favor, but they surprised the Hornets in a 99-89 win. John Wall delivered 28 points and 12 assists.
Here is the Wizards Report from last season in New Orleans:
Through the first 18 games of the season, the Wizards have used six different starting lineups and will use a seventh tonight against the Hornets. Point guard A.J. Price is out with a broken right hand suffered Saturday against the Warriors. Shaun Livingston is the natural point guard option to start or Jordan Crawford could be a possibility. When Crawford filled-in for Wall, who was serving a one-game suspension, in April of 2011 he recorded a triple-double. On Saturday Price had to leave the game early in the first quarter and that put most of the point guard responsibilities on Crawford. He did not disappoint. Crawford flirted with a triple-double and finished with 22 points, 8 assists, and 7 rebounds. Even with Price healthy, Crawford has played at point guard at various times this season. In the second half against the Mavericks in November, Crawford ran the point and had 17 points and 5 assists while leading the Wizards to 56 points.
The Wizards are no strangers to close games. Eight of the Wizards sixteen losses this season have been by six points or less and four of those losses have been by fewer than three points. In short it has been a very fine line between winning and losing for the Wizards. The Wizards have been tripped up by turnovers late in games or missed free throws like Saturday against the Warriors when they lost 101-97 after only shooting 14 of 23 from the free throw line.
“We know why we are losing. It is tough. We have to start winning these close games. We can’t keep saying that we are in games and then end up losing.”
Chris Singleton started 51 games last season and is now expected to make his fourth consecutive start tonight against the Hornets. An injury to Trevor Ariza helped elevate Singleton to starting status. Singleton did start with Ariza in the front court against the Heat. Regardless of Ariza’s situation Singleton had been making a case for getting back in the starting five. Known as a defender in his college days at Florida State, Singleton has improved his offensive game and provides energy on both ends of the floor. Singleton has also helped the Wizards get off to better starts. Against the Hawks Singleton had six of the Wizards first ten points and then had five of the Wizards first ten points against the Warriors.
Cartier Martin is also enjoying more playing time. After only seeing the floor in seven of the Wizards first fifteen games, Martin has scored 29 points in the last two games. In a three game stretch Martin struggled to find his touch and was 2 of 17 from the field. In the last two games Martin has shot 8 of 16 from the field.
There is talk that Anthony Davis could return to the Hornets lineup as soon as tonight. The number one overall pick in this past summer’s NBA Draft has been limited to six games because of a left ankle injury. Davis 16 points and 8.3 rebounds per-game.
The Hornets story starts on the perimeter where from beyond the arc they are shooting 39 percent and are ranked fourth in the NBA. Ryan Anderson accounts for a good portion of the Hornets three-point scoring. He is shooting 44 percent from three-point distance and is on pace to break the single season franchise record for three-point field goals made. The Hornets record is 231 three-pointers by Peja Stojakovic in 20072008. As a point of reference Anderson has already made 64 three pointers through 19 games, while at the same point back in the 2007/2008 season Stojakovic had only made 51 three-point field goals. Anderson won the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award and is on track for an even better season this year. Anderson is averaging 18.4 points per-game and 7.4 rebounds.
Former Maryland star Greivis Vasquez is ranked fifth in the NBA at 8.6 assists per game. Twice this season he has also scored career-high tying 25 points.
The “Big Easy” was really more like the big freeze. Temperatures on the outside in New Orleans were unusually low and in the 40’s. Temperatures on the inside were even colder when measured by shooting percentage in the Wizards 77-70 win over the Hornets. At halftime the Wizards were only shooting 28 percent from the field, but only trailed the Hornets 42-36. The Wizards used their defense to win the game by holding the Hornets to only ten points in the fourth quarter. The Wizards won despite shooting only 32 percent from the field. Randy Wittman: “After that first quarter, this game was kind of indicative of how our team is through injuries, through bad starts, through digging a hole and staying in the game, not giving up whether it be when we’re shooting, I think 20 percent and 11 points in the first quarter. We just kept our heads in (the game). We kept fighting and kept it close. I thought that was the key. Going into halftime, our guys felt good. We were down by seven or six at the half, and we hadn’t really played well at all, so we said ‘Hey, it’s going to click offensively’. We just have to keep our defense going.’ Our defense was really good again tonight and won the game for us obviously. I’m really proud of our guys.” Here is today’s Wizards Report: