Wizards vs. Knicks: Washington sets one franchise low, flirts with another in blowout loss


Coach Randy Wittman unleashes a sarcastic grin as the Wizards deliver an abysmal performance at Madison Square Garden on Friday night. (Adam Hunger/Reuters)
April 13, 2012

Strange as it might sound in a season that has provided few days of rest and even fewer opportunities to practice, getting two days to prepare for the New York Knicks may have been the worst thing to happen for the Washington Wizards.

They had too much time to feel pleased with matching a season-high two-game winning streak, following a somewhat surprising win over a playoff contender in Orlando. And too much time to forget about how they earned that modest success.

It showed Friday night during a horrific display of terrible shots that chipped paint from the rim and passes that often wound up in their opponents’ hands. In one of the most putrid offensive performances in franchise history, the Wizards were walloped, 103-65, at Madison Square Garden.

“This is embarrassing,” Jordan Crawford said after the Wizards suffered their most lopsided loss in a season filled with blowout defeats. “We wasn’t ready. At no parts of the game. We wasn’t ready. At all. Had nothing to do with the coaching. It was all us. It was the players. Just wasn’t ready.”

The game was so bad that it probably needed a running clock to end it sooner. Assistant coach Sam Cassell appeared ill on the bench as he spoke to Coach Randy Wittman in the fourth quarter. Wittman futilely tried to mix rotations and make motivational speeches, but every effort to spark his team resulted in more misery.

With eight minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Wizards had just 47 points, a fact Knicks fans reminded them of by chanting the point total every time they brought the ball up the floor. When Crawford made one of two free throws to get the visitors to 48, the fans booed. The only saving grace came when Cartier Martin drilled a three-pointer with 1 minute 11 seconds remaining to help the Wizards avoid setting a new franchise record for scoring futility.

The Wizards’ previous franchise low came in Chicago on Jan. 11, when the Derrick Rose-less Bulls held them to just 64 points. With five minutes left in the game, the Wizards had more turnovers (21) than field goals (18). They finished with 22 in each category — setting a team record for fewest field goals in a game — and shot a season-low 27.8 percent from the field.

“I’m glad I hit the three there,” Martin said, laughing uncomfortably, after finishing the game with five points. “It was a rough night for us, man. We just didn’t play like we played over the last two games. Even in practice today, we didn’t compete as hard as we could’ve. Obviously, the scoreboard tells you, we didn’t hit a lot of shots.”

Shelvin Mack ended a drought of more than 12 minutes without a field goal in the second half when he made a layup. When Crawford quickly followed with a runner in the lane that brought the Wizards within 89-54 with 5:34 remaining, Knicks fans chanted, “Under 60! Under 60!” At least it provided a target to reach.

“It don’t happen. How many times you seen that? Ain’t too many times a team is going to be under 60 with four minutes left in the fourth quarter,” Crawford said, shaking his head. “If I was a fan, I’d do the same thing.”

Crawford had a team-high 17 points, but he missed 14 of 20 field goal attempts. John Wall was an abysmal 2 for 12 and scored just eight points. Kevin Seraphin scored 12 points, becoming the first Wizards center since Gheorghe Muresan in 1997 to reach double figures in eight consecutive games, but there was no need to celebrate when the usually efficient big man needed 15 shots to get there.

“The thing with this league, you’ve got to bring it every night,” Roger Mason Jr. said after scoring 11 points. “That team we played against, they are fighting for playoff position and we’re fighting for our pride. They came out and just completely humiliated us.”

The Wizards (14-45) certainly contributed to humiliating themselves. Wall and Seraphin both threw passes to Baron Davis and Crawford was called for traveling twice in the first period. The trio combined to commit 15 turnovers.

Starting forwards Chris Singleton and Jan Vesely were both scoreless, combining to go 0 for 7. Vesely attempted a baseline jumper in the second period that would’ve been on target if his goal was to hit the upper side of the backboard.

The lone highlight came in the third quarter, when Wall and Crawford were on a two-on-one fast break against Davis. Crawford lobbed the ball over his left shoulder and Wall climbed Davis for a two-handed dunk that brought the Wizards within 62-45 with 7:03 seconds left in the period. But the Knicks (31-28) responded by scoring 15 consecutive points and extending the lead to 43 when J.R. Smith (team-high 23 points) hit a three-pointer with 2:12 left in the game.

“It looked like we were overwhelmed at the jump ball when we walked into the arena,” Wittman said. “Maybe that happens to young guys, I don’t know. I tried everything.”

by Michael Lee

NEW YORK — As strange as it might sound in a season that has provided few days of rest and even fewer opportunities to practice, getting two days to prepare for the New York Knicks may have been the worst thing to happen for the Washington Wizards.

They had too much time to think about how they had matched a season-high two-game winning streak, following a somewhat surprising win over a playoff contender in Orlando. Too much time to forget about how they earned that modest success. It showed Friday night during a horrific display of basketball that had assistant coach Sam Cassell looking ill on the bench as he spoke to Coach Randy Wittman in the fourth quarter.

In one of the most putrid offensive performances in franchise history, the Wizards were walloped, 103-65, at Madison Square Garden. The game was so bad that it probably needed a running clock to end the misery sooner.

The Wizards had 47 points with eight minutes left in the fourth quarter and Knicks fans reminded them every time they brought the ball up the floor. When Jordan Crawford made one of two free throws to get the visitors to 48, the fans booed. The only saving grace for came when Cartier Martin drilled a three-pointer with 1 minute 11 seconds remaining to help the Wizards avoid setting a new record for scoring futility.

The Wizards’ previous franchise low came in Chicago on Jan. 11, when the Derrick Rose-less Bulls held them to just 64 points. With five minutes left in the game, the Wizards had more turnovers (21) than field goals (18). They finished with 22 in each category — setting a team record for fewest field goals in a game — and shot a season-low 27.8 percent from the field.

Crawford led the Wizards (14-45) with 17 points, but he missed 14 of 20 field goal attempts. John Wall was an abysmal 2 for 12 and scored just eight points. Kevin Seraphin scored 12 points, becoming the first Wizards center since Gheorghe Muresan in 1997 to reach double figures in eight consecutive games, but there was no need to celebrate when the usually efficient big man needed 15 shots to get there.

Roger Mason Jr. had 11 points off the bench, but reserves James Singleton and Martin, who had been helpful in the Wizards’ past two victories, combined to score just nine points.

The Wizards’ lone highlight came in the third quarter, when Wall and Crawford were on a two-on-one fast break against Baron Davis. Crawford lobbed the ball over his left shoulder and Wall climbed Davis for a two-handed dunk that brought the Wizards within 64-45 with 7:03 left in the third period.

The Knicks responded by scoring the next 15 points. Mike Bibby — who gave back $6.2 million salary for this season to avoid playing for the Wizards after they acquired him in a trade last year — was part of the run, drilling a three-pointer that gave his a team a 70-45 lead and forced Wittman to call a timeout.

After Steve Novak made a jump shot that bounded high off the rim and fell to give New York a 32-point lead with 47 seconds remaining in the third period, Knicks fan started chanting, “Forty-five! Forty-five!”

Martin finally made two free throws to end a scoring drought of more than six minutes.

The Wizards would go another four minutes without scoring. Shelvin Mack finally made a running layup with 6:43 left in the game to end a more-than-12 minute field goal drought. After Mack made another runner in the lane, fans chanted, “Under 60! Under 60!” At least it provided a target to reach.

Not only did the Wizards fail to score, they decided not to defend either, letting the Knicks take whatever shot they desired as starters Tyson Chandler, Carmelo Anthony and Davis gleefully celebrated on the bench.

The Knicks (31-28) are fighting for the one of the two final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference and moved ahead of Philadelphia for seventh place because of a head-to-head tiebreaker.

Reserve J.R. Smith led the Knicks with 23 points and Anthony, Davis and Novak each scored 18 points. Chandler had eight points and 15 rebounds for the Knicks, who swept the three-game season series.

by Michael Lee

NEW YORK — As strange as it might sound in a season that has provided few days of rest and even fewer opportunities to practice, getting two days to prepare for the New York Knicks may have been the worst thing to happen for the Washington Wizards.

They had too much time to think about how they had matched a season-high two-game winning streak, following a somewhat surprising win over a playoff contender in Orlando. Too much time to forget about how they earned that modest success. It showed Friday night during a horrific display of basketball that had assistant coach Sam Cassell looking ill on the bench as he spoke to Coach Randy Wittman in the fourth quarter.

In one of the most putrid offensive performances in franchise history, the Wizards were walloped, 103-65, at Madison Square Garden. The game was so bad that it probably needed a running clock to end the misery sooner.

The Wizards had 47 points with eight minutes left in the fourth quarter and Knicks fans reminded them every time they brought the ball up the floor. When Jordan Crawford made one of two free throws to get the visitors to 48, the fans booed. The only saving grace for came when Cartier Martin drilled a three-pointer with 1 minute 11 seconds remaining to help the Wizards avoid setting a new record for scoring futility.

The Wizards’ previous franchise low came in Chicago on Jan. 11, when the Derrick Rose-less Bulls held them to just 64 points. With five minutes left in the game, the Wizards had more turnovers (21) than field goals (18). They finished with 22 in each category — setting a team record for fewest field goals in a game — and shot a season-low 27.8 percent from the field.

Crawford led the Wizards (14-45) with 17 points, but he missed 14 of 20 field goal attempts. John Wall was an abysmal 2 for 12 and scored just eight points. Kevin Seraphin scored 12 points, becoming the first Wizards center since Gheorghe Muresan in 1997 to reach double figures in eight consecutive games, but there was no need to celebrate when the usually efficient big man needed 15 shots to get there.

Roger Mason Jr. had 11 points off the bench, but reserves James Singleton and Martin, who had been helpful in the Wizards’ past two victories, combined to score just nine points.

The Wizards’ lone highlight came in the third quarter, when Wall and Crawford were on a two-on-one fast break against Baron Davis. Crawford lobbed the ball over his left shoulder and Wall climbed Davis for a two-handed dunk that brought the Wizards within 64-45 with 7:03 left in the third period.

The Knicks responded by scoring the next 15 points. Mike Bibby — who gave back $6.2 million salary for this season to avoid playing for the Wizards after they acquired him in a trade last year — was part of the run, drilling a three-pointer that gave his a team a 70-45 lead and forced Wittman to call a timeout.

After Steve Novak made a jump shot that bounded high off the rim and fell to give New York a 32-point lead with 47 seconds remaining in the third period, Knicks fan started chanting, “Forty-five! Forty-five!”

Martin finally made two free throws to end a scoring drought of more than six minutes.

The Wizards would go another four minutes without scoring. Shelvin Mack finally made a running layup with 6:43 left in the game to end a more-than-12 minute field goal drought. After Mack made another runner in the lane, fans chanted, “Under 60! Under 60!” At least it provided a target to reach.

Not only did the Wizards fail to score, they decided not to defend either, letting the Knicks take whatever shot they desired as starters Tyson Chandler, Carmelo Anthony and Davis gleefully celebrated on the bench.

The Knicks (31-28) are fighting for the one of the two final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference and moved ahead of Philadelphia for seventh place because of a head-to-head tiebreaker.

Reserve J.R. Smith led the Knicks with 23 points and Anthony, Davis and Novak each scored 18 points. Chandler had eight points and 15 rebounds for the Knicks, who swept the three-game season series.

Michael Lee is the national basketball writer for The Washington Post.
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