The Washington Post

Nick Young seeks to extend upswing

(Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

Young had a game-high 19 points and a career-high six assists, and the Wizards completed a comeback from 21 points down at Verizon Center for perhaps their most exhilarating triumph this season.

It was Young’s second straight impactful game since a slow start coming out of the All-Star break. Two days before playing the Lakers, Young scored 25 points in 25 minutes 35 seconds in a 120-100 loss to visiting Golden State.

The three games leading up to the Warriors game were trying, to say the least, for Young. He was benched in the second half of a 119-118 loss to Milwaukee, hurt his right knee as a reserve in a 102-95 loss to Orlando and missed last Friday’s 101-98 win against Cleveland because of that injury.

“That’s the swing of things,” Wizards Coach Randy Wittman said of Young. “He had a good practice again today. Hopefully now he’s feeling good about himself a little bit, obviously coming off a win like we did. Hopefully he’s headed in the other direction again.”

Young’s confidence level is elevated even more considering the Wizards’ next opponent. The last time Washington played Portland on Feb. 14, Young scored a season-high 35 points in a 124-109 victory at the Rose Garden.

On Saturday, the Trail Blazers will be playing their second game in as many nights while Washington was off on Thursday and was able to practice and draw up a game plan on Friday.

“We can’t go into the game thinking like that,” Young said when asked about catching a Portland team that may be tired. “Plus they’ve got LaMarcus Aldridge back. That’s a big asset to their team. We’ve just got to in there with the mind-set of playing hard and trying to sneak another one in.”

Gene Wang is a sports reporter covering multiple beats, including Navy football, the Capitals, Wizards, Nationals, women’s basketball, auto racing, boxing and golf. He also covers Fantasy Football.


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