Wizards Report December 30Posted on January 14, 2013 by DJ-WizardsRadio
By Dave Johnson
There was no encore for Jordan Crawford’s Friday night scoring splurge. A night after Crawford scored a season-high 27 points in a win at home over Orlando, Crawford was sidelined by a sore left ankle in a 87-77 loss to the Bulls in Chicago.
Crawford’s absence only added to the challenge of dealing with the Bulls’ tenacious and physical defense, but the Wizards responded. With Garrett Temple making his first start at point guard, the Wizards offense had the answers early. The Wizards had a 26-22 lead at the end of the first quarter and on 50 percent shooting from the field.
The prosperity didn’t last for the Wizards. In the second quarter the Wizards turned the ball over five times and only made four of 21 field goal attempts. They were outscored by the Bulls 23-13, but at halftime only trailed 45-39.
Here is today’s Wizards Report:
The Wizards stumbled at the start of the third quarter and fell behind by 13 points at 58-45.The Bulls were then stunned when the shorthanded Wizards went on a 15-2 run to make it a two-point game at 60-58 with 3:36 left in the third quarter. In that run Emeka Okafor had 6 points, 5 rebounds, and one blocked shot.
For the game, Okafor had 11 points and a season-high 18 rebounds. Okafor was part of strong effort by the Wizards on the inside. The Bulls front court of Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, and Carlos Boozer combined for 35 points. Okafor, Nene, and Martell Webster combined for 35 points and had the edge in rebounds 33-29.
In the end the Wizards did not make the play necessary. After closing the gap at 77-73, the Bulls closed the game on 10-4 run. The Bulls were not much better. In the fourth quarter the Bulls were only 7 of 21 from the field with 17 points. Still it was better than the Wizards with only 14 points in the final quarter in 5 of 21 from the field.
“We just didn't have our offense. We didn't shot the ball well, and they have a good defensive team. We struggled from the perimeter all night. We fought hard, but not knocking shots down from the perimeter meant if we weren't scoring in the paint, we were having trouble. As we've seen when we shot 47% or so it changes the game. Tonight we came out and battled hard, even though short handed. Yes, It hurt to loose our leading scorer (Jordan) but it isn't that reason we lost.”
The Wizards had the edge in rebounds on the Bulls 56-49 and in second chance points 15-11. For all the grit and determination on the glass, the Wizards night was tripped up in part by turnovers. The Wizards had 17 turnovers that led to 19 Bulls’ points.
Emeka Okafor recorded his third double-double in the past four games. Okafor has recorded at least 10 rebounds in four straight games. In the first 24 games of the season Okafor only surpassed ten rebounds three times.
Okafor’s 18 rebounds represent his highest single game total since he grabbed 19 rebounds in February 6, 2009 when he played for the Charlotte Bobcats in a loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
At the point:
With Garrett Temple starting at point guard the Wizards used their 12th different starting lineup in 28 games this season. Temple finished with 8 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists. Shelvin Mack came off the bench and added 7 points and 5 assists. With Crawford out there were times Mack and Temple played in the back court together.
Randy Wittman on Temple:
“I played him 41 minutes out there tonight. He just needs to get more comfortable with more minutes. His turnovers are caused because he hasn't been out there and doesn't know where his guys are always going to be. He had a couple of turnovers at the end, where he couldn't find anyone.”
Happy New Year!. The Washington Wizards are looking for a better one beginning Tuesday night at home against the Dallas Mavericks and they do so with the knowledge that the key to consistent improvement is linked to good health.