By Dave Johnson
The deal was done. The show goes on. It’s life in the NBA. Jordan Crawford practiced yesterday with the Washington Wizards and then was traded to the Boston Celtics. Now all the focus shifts to tonight’s home game against the Denver Nuggets.
Here is today’s Wizards Report:
Coverage of the Wizards and Nuggets begins tonight at 6:45 on the Washington Wizards Radio Network.
Crawford’s exit was not a surprise. He was not happy with his role coming off the bench and had not played in the last four games. The Wizards received veterans Leandro Barbosa and Jason Collins, two players with expiring contracts, in exchange. Barbosa is out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.
There is no question Crawford has potential. The Wizards traded for him in his rookie season in a deal that also was designed to help their salary cap. Crawford could ignite and excite with shots that defied description, but some of his decisions could also confuse and confound coaches and fans.
Just last month Crawford came through with the first buzzer-beater of his career with a three point shot against Portland. While Crawford won that game, the Wizards were statistically better without him on the floor. The Wizards were 5-3 when he was sidelined and they averaged six more points and four more assists.
It’s on to the quest for the season sweep against the Nuggets after January’s win in Denver. The Wizards know the score. The Nuggets area high possession team that will look to disrupt on defense and get out on the break.
The Nuggets will give up points, but they are also third in the NBA in steals and fourth in the league in blocks. They are seventh in the NBA in forcing turnovers and are second in rebounding.
The Wizards know the blueprint for success.
The last time:
Fresh off the sting of their 95-94 loss in Sacramento, the Wizards responded by winning in Denver for the first time since December of 2005. It ended a five-game road losing streak in Denver and it was only the Nuggets third home loss of the season.
John Wall, who was frustrated by missing two free throws late in the one-point loss to the Kings, made sure the Wizards did not let the Nuggets’ game slip from their grasp. With the Wizards leading 110-108 Wall blocked Ty Lawson’s driving layup attempt with 2.7 seconds left and then scored the game’s final two points from the free throw line.
For the second consecutive game Wall came off the bench to deliver a double-double with 14 points, 12 assists, and two blocked shots in 25 minutes on the court. Lawson led the Nuggets with a game-high 29 points. He had 23 of those points in the third quarter when the Nuggets built a ten-point lead.
Down 87-80 to start the fourth quarter, the Wizards stormed out on a 12-0 run in 2:24 to take a 92-87 lead and then never trailed again Kevin Seraphin scored 14 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter including a put-back of a Trevor Ariza miss to make it 108-104 with 28.9 seconds left in the game.
Beal is averaging 20.8 points per game on 61.7 percent shooting (37-60) over the last five games.
The Wizards won because:
It is worth noting that the Wizards shot over 50 percent (51.3) from the field for only the second time this season, but their secret to success Friday in Denver is linked to rebounding. The Wizards out rebounded the Nuggets 45-34. Five Wizards had at least five rebounds led by Trevor Booker with eight. The Nuggets average 45 rebounds per-game and only had 9 offensive rebounds.