Here is your recap roundup for last night's 98-90 Wizards win over the Clippers. As always, visit our StoryStream for more and check out interviews with Randy Wittman, Nene, Garrett Temple, Martell Webster and John Wall.
"Hey, listen, we played enough games this year without players," [Wittman] said. "Don't give me the (garbage) about who was here and who wasn't here. ... You guys would have printed it a wholly different other way if we had lost. ... Now you're going to print, ‘Ah, you won because Blake didn't play.' Give me a break."
Wall had 13 points and eight assists and capped the run with the emphatic jam as the Wizards won for the sixth time in their last seven games at Verizon Center. Monday's win was their fourth at home over against a division leader after also knocking off Miami, Oklahoma City and Chicago.
"We've been stepping up to the level of the competition all year, but we can't play down," Webster said. "We have to continue to play at that level, at a high level."
John Wall might have let the head-to-head matchup with Eric Bledsoe, his former backcourt partner at Kentucky, get the best of him. In the second quarter against the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday, Wall dribbled the ball right out of his own hands, a turnover that led to an uncontested Bledsoe dunk at the other end of the court.
But just as Wall tried to do too much early, Bledsoe overcompensated late filling in for injured Chris Paul, slipping as he dribbled along the baseline. When the ball found its way to Wall for his own wide open left-handed jam, the Wizards had a 10-point lead, enough to help close out a 98-90 victory before 16,246 at Verizon Center.
The team's [sic.] split the season series. The Clippers won in Los Angeles 94-87 on Jan. 19. Washington had lost eight straight against Los Angeles, including three at home.
"This is the first time we beat them since I was here," Wall said. "We just made plays down the stretch, got a comfortable lead, got a couple of stops and closed it out."
One Wizard who continues to struggle is Jordan Crawford. He entered Monday's game having scored a total of 21 points on 29.6 percent shooting over his past four games. Against the Clippers he took an ill-advised three pointer in the second quarter and was promptly given a seat on the bench where he remained for the rest of the game.
"He just has to find his rhythm when he gets in," said Wall who had eight assists against the Clippers. "We're still running plays for him. I think he just has to get a couple of easy shots early to get himself going. It's frustrating when you're not making shots and coming off the bench. Next game he may come out and get 24 points, he's one of those players that gets hot."
Garrett Temple finally stepped up in the absence of Bradley Beal. In his fourth start-after showings of two, four, and two points-Temple scored a season-high 15 points on 12 shots and did a little bit of everything in the stat book. "Havoc," was Temple's word of frequent choice during post-game questioning, and that's exactly what he caused on the defensive end.
He and Trevor Ariza, whose defense could have also been nominated as an x-factor, had a nice, disruptive chemistry going, working together to get a key steal from Jamal Crawford late in the fourth.
Riding Martell Webster's 21 points and five three-pointers, the Washington Wizards downed the Los Angeles Clippers 98-90 to end a four game skid at the Verizon Center Monday night. Webster was the catalyst for a Wizards team that has struggled to score in their last few outings. One of their more vocal leaders came to play monday though and it was Webster, along with Nene, Garrett Temple and John Wall that helped the Wizards lead at the end of all four quarters.
"I dont give myself any personal accolades ... fortunately I was on the receive end of most of those passes tonight," Webster said when asked if has emerged as the team's go to shooter to change momentum.
I don't know if he did something to get into Randy Witman's doghouse but Jordan Crawford did not get any burn in this game. He only logged six minutes which was the lowest of any player that actually played. Jo. Crawford was able to hit a three before he got yanked. This was the second game in a row that Jordan didn't play in the fourth quarter and he looked as if he was checked out of the game from the start. Six minutes and 1-3 shooting isn't what you expect from your "sixth man".
But the only execution in the final five minutes was the execution-style killing of any hope they had to win. On a possession I still haven't figured out, Bledose dribbled directly into a double team and lost the ball out of bounds. On the next trip Grant Hill threw a pass away. On the next one Crawford threw a pass away. A few possessions later Bledsoe threw another pass away. Over the course of six possessions covering about three minutes, the Clippers turned the ball over four times and were outscored 11-2. As if the turnovers weren't enough, they also allowed the Wizards two offensive rebounds in that stretch. In those three minutes, the Wizards took seven shots and two free throws, while the Clippers managed just two shots. When your opponent is getting four times as many chances to score, you're not going to win.
"Really, the turnovers did us in tonight," Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. "Guys were trying to do too much and ended up turning it over, then they would get fast breaks, which end in easy baskets."
The Clippers have officially hit rock bottom. They've lost seven of their last nine games, just lost to the second-worst team in basketball, and as of right now are without their two All Stars. For those who don't know, Blake Griffin sat out tonight's game with a strained left hamstring and is listed as day-to-day.
Griffin, who also has a sore left ankle that has been prone to swelling off and on over the last couple of weeks, returned to the locker room just before the game started. Lamar Odom started in his place but had only three points and nine rebounds before fouling out with 43.2 seconds left.
"I knew it was bothering him," Del Negro said about Griffin's injury. "In the big picture, we have to be smart."
Griffin said he probably hurt it Sunday in Boston, but he didn't believe it was serious enough to keep him out. In pregame warm-ups, however, he seemed to be favoring his leg, finally deciding just before tipoff that he should sit out the game.
"We were walking out, he was walking in," coach Vinny Del Negro said in explaining how and when he learned that Griffin was a scratch.
Bledsoe and John Wall were teammates at the University of Kentucky, where Wall was the star and eventually taken by the Wizards with the first overall pick in the 2010 draft. Bledsoe, taken 18th overall in that draft, got the best of Wall in this matchup, outscoring the Washington guard 17 points to 13, dishing out more assists (9 to 8) and shooting better from the floor (7-for-14 compared to 6-for-18). In the end, Wall got the win, but Bledsoe's performance shows just how far he's come this season.
"He's proving why he belongs in the league," Wall said of Bledsoe, who moved into the starting lineup because Chris Paul is nursing a bruised right kneecap. "He's not secondary to me. He made shots today. You want to make him make contested jump shots, and that's what he was doing."