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Wizards Report January 21

January 20, 2013
From the start of this season, which has produced thirty losses, the Washington Wizards have been competitive. Now with John Wall back from a knee injury the offense has improved and so has the Wizards chances of winning more games.

That theory will be tested again Monday night when the Wizards play the Trail Blazers here in Portland. The Wizards secured their first win of the season back in November against the Blazers at Verizon Center. It was in Nene’s third game back in the lineup from a foot injury.

Here is today’s Wizards Report:

LISTEN:  Wizards Report January 21

Since Wall’s return from a stress injury to his left knee, the Wizards are 3-2 .  Wall has come off the bench in all five games and on Saturday in a loss to the Clippers in Los Angeles played a season-high 30 minutes and scored a season-high 24 points. With an ability to put defenses on their heels and attack the basket, Wall has been getting to the free throw line.

On Saturday Wall was 10 of 14 from the free throw line. Through five games played Wall is 28 of 25 from the free throw lines To be sure Wall’s missed free throw late against the Clippers and in a one-point to Sacramento were costly, but it is dramatic improvement from early in the season when in some games the Wizards struggled to get to the line ten times as a team.

With Wall along with A.J. Price and Trevor Booker healthy and playing again, there is renewed sense of belief in themselves by the Wizards players. The resilience showed Friday when they rallied from ten points to win in Denver and even in defeat Saturday when the Wizards rallied from twelve points down to make it a one-point game with 1:33 to go in Los Angeles.

Losses earlier this season seemed to be defined strong defense but not enough offense to support the good defensive work. With Wall and Price running the show, the spacing better and so is the shot selection. On this road trip the Wizards have had 79 assists in three games for an average of 26 per-game.

Trail Blazers:

*Portland has lost 5 games in a row. The Blazers last win was January 10 th against Miami

*Losing the close ones: Although they have lost 5 straight, they have all been within a 6 point margin

*Coach Terry Stotts called their repeat close losses “like Groundhog Day.” The team comes out weak early, makes a big comeback, only to come up short in the end.

·        * While Lamarcus Aldridge took the bulk of the load offensively early in the season, other teammates have stepped up recently ( Damian Lillard, Nicolas Batum, Wesley Matthews).

·        *  Batum is one of those players stepping up (16.8 PPG, 4.4 APG, 5.9 RPG). Has scored +20 in 3 of his last 4 games.

·        * At only 22 years of age, Damian Lillard has become one of the NBA’s rising stars (18.3 PPG, 6.6 APG)