Minus Wall and Lewis, Wizards crush Bobcats

Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Budding star John Wall was sidelined again because of an injury, and newly acquired Rashard Lewis did not suit up only hours after arriving from Orlando. But the Washington Wizards still gave an announced crowd of 13,835 plenty to cheer Monday night at Verizon Center.

Kirk Hinrich notched 18 points and 11 assists and Nick Young scored a game-high 21 points to help the Wizards end a seven-game losing streak with a 108-75 victory over the similarly struggling Charlotte Bobcats.

"We did it because we were never in a panic situation offensively," Wizards Coach Flip Saunders said. "We got into sets, and as I said to our players, if you execute you can still score a lot of points. It's not like we were running up and down. We got in sets and got the shots that we wanted."

Though the margin of victory proved to be Washington's biggest since a 103-72 victory over Atlanta in 2006, the contest was tight early. The Wizards clung to a 50-45 lead at halftime, but a 21-2 run, sparked by Hinrich, Young and a defense that forced a season-high 27 turnovers, increased that edge to 71-47, putting the game out of the Bobcats' reach.

The Wizards, in their second game without Gilbert Arenas, outscored Charlotte 31-11 during in the third quarter while holding the Bobcats to a franchise-low one field goal in the period. Charlotte endured an epic shooting drought, going 12 minutes 20 seconds between field goals, spanning the third and fourth quarters.

"I think we've been better defensively," Saunders said. "It's something we've spent time on and worked on. But I don't know if we're that good, to hold teams to one field goal in 13 minutes. But we really contested shots and didn't give many open looks."

Down the hallway, Charlotte Coach Larry Brown blamed himself for the blowout, which marked their ninth straight defeat on the road, the team's longest road slide since 2008. It was also just their second loss in 11 games against Washington.

"We're not a team," Brown said. "We're not well coached. We don't play hard. To put a team out there like that and look that way, that's totally my responsibility."

The Bobcats certainly did not look prepared at the start of the second half against a Wizards team that Hinrich said was still smarting from Saturday's late collapse against Miami.

Young opened the third quarter by nailing a three-pointer, which was followed on consecutive possessions by scores from Andray Blatche (19 points) and JaVale McGee (10) that stretched the Wizards' lead to 57-45.

Boris Diaw made the Bobcats' only field goal of the quarter at 10:13, while the Wizards ripped off the next 14 straight points to turn the game into a laugher. The Bobcats didn't get another basket until Derrick Brown scored at 9:53 of the fourth, and shot an astonishing 7 percent in the third quarter.

"We kind of still had a bad taste in our mouth from the Miami game and we wanted to come out and play with the same intensity," Hinrich said. "And we did that."

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