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Dave Johnson: Wizards 10th Straight Loss Is Dramatic

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Dave Johnson: Wizards 10th Straight Loss Is Dramatic

Saturday, March 20, 2010 12:48am

Wizards vs. Trail Blazers Game Highlights & PostgameBy Dave Johnson
CSNWashington.comPortland----With both teams shooting below 40 percent it didnt figure to be a thriller. In the end it was. Brandon Roy hit a 22-foot jumper from the wing with 0.9 seconds left to lift the Portland Trail Blazers to a 76-74 victory and extend the Washington Wizards losing streak to ten games.The losing streak, the Wizards longest since 1995, does not reflect the teams effort. The Wizards struggled against the Trail Blazers defensive pressure on the perimeter and could not find any flow on offense, but stayed competitive with defensive pressure of their own.The Blazers, who were led in scoring by LaMarcus Aldridge with 19 points and 12 rebounds, only shot 32 percent from the field. The Wizards shooting percentage wasnt much better but with a late surge finished 39 percent from the field with Mike Miller leading the way with 16 points.We didnt make shots but out defense was pretty solid for most of the game, said Wizards head coach Flip Saunders. We went to a 2-3 zone with about six minutes to go and that helped change the tempo. We just could not secure some rebounds late and Roy made a helluva shot.It appeared as if Roy could have been called for traveling on the winning shot as he weaved around the Wizards Alonzo Gee to get an open look from just inside the arc. It was Gee, just signed to a second ten-day contract by the Wizards, who helped limit Roy.Before the game-winner Roy had missed 14 consecutive shots after making his first three attempts of the game. Roy ended up scoring 14 points and spoiled a spirited Wizards come back from a ten-point fourth quarter deficit.The Wizards held Portland to just 13 points in the third quarter, but were in trouble when the Blazers opened the fourth quarter with an 11-5 run to a build a 66-56 lead with 6:34 remaining in the game. Thats when the Wizards switched to a zone defense and started to crawl back.The crawl turned into a full-blown charge when the Wizards pulled to within two-points in dramatic fashion with less than three minutes to go. The Blazers Nicolas Batum missed a three point attempt that ricocheted high off the rum and forced James Singleton to tip the rebound to Andray Blatche.Blatche not only secured the rebound in traffic near the foul line, but he had the vision to find a sprinting Al Thornton , who despite a hard foul by a chasing Batum, was able to throw-down a slam dunk with two hands. Thornton landed hard on the floor but was able to make the free-throw and bring the Wizards to within two points at 69-67.Thats when Randy Foye took over for the Wizards and gave the Wizards their first lead since the first quarter. Foye was able to work off a Singleton screen and hit a three pointer to put the Wizards up 70-69 with 2:11 left in the game.He got aggressive Saunders said of Foye who scored 10 of his 11 points in the fourth quarter. He started going north-south with the ball instead of east-west. He got them back on their heels and s made big shots and put us in good situation.Indeed thanks to a seven point splurge by a Foye in a little over a minute; the Wizards enjoyed a 74-72 lead with 1:01 to go. Unfortunately for the Wizards, Al Thornton fouled out battling Aldridge for a rebound. Aldridge then made two free throws to tie the game at 74.With 33 seconds left the Wizards had a wonderful opportunity. They were able to get the ball to Blatche on the block and he made a strong move on the baseline to the basket, but missed the layup.On Blatches drive to the basket there was a strong challenge by Aldridge, and there appeared to be contact, but no foul was called and the Blazers got the rebound and the ball with 18 seconds left.It was an off night for Blatche who was 6 o 19 from the field. Part of that was double-teams by Aldridge and Marcus Camby, but it also must be noted that Blatche was playing despite a sprained left ankle suffered Tuesday in Denver.He (Blatche) could not move nearly as well as he usually does, Saunders observed. We got him a great look late and usually I think he would have scored but just could not get the shot up quick enough.It was an amazing game. At half-time the Blazers led 43-30. The Wizards 30 points were a low for a first-half this season. Still it took a Brandon Roy last second shot to beat the Wizards on a night when their best scoring option was hampered by a bad ankle.

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3 reasons why the Caps beat the Sabres

3 reasons why the Caps beat the Sabres

You may think this was an ugly four-game road trip for the Caps, but with a 3-2 win in Buffalo on Monday, Washington managed to earn five out of a possible eight points.

Here is why the Caps beat the Sabres and managed to save the road swing.

A missed high-stick (maybe) from Ovechkin

Ovechkin scored the first goal of the game in the second period as he deflected a high-shot from Christian Djoos down past goalie Chad Johnson. But did the deflection come on a high stick? The play was reviewed and the goal was ultimately upheld. According to the NHL, it was determined that "video review supported the Referee's call on the ice that Alex Ovechkin's stick was at or below the height of the crossbar when he tipped the puck into the Buffalo net."

NBC Sports Washington analyst Alan May broke the play down during the second intermission and made his case for why the NHL actually got the call wrong.

Was that a high stick? I don't know. As compelling an argument as May made, it still looks inconclusive which means the review made the right call. What surprises me is that the referee did not disallow the goal on the initial call.

Whether the review is truly inconclusive or flat out wrong, Washington was fortunate to walk away from this sequence with the goal.

MORE CAPITALS: BIZARRE SEQUENCE LEADS TO CAPS SCORING AND GETTING PENALIZED AT THE SAME TIME

A centimeter of ice

Hockey is a game of inches and it took less than an inch to put Washington up 2-0. When an Evgeny Kuznetsov shot hit off the boards and bounced back to the front of the net, it sparked a scrum next to goalie Chad Johnson. Eventually, John Carlson was able to get a swipe on the puck sending it trickling to the goal line, but Kyle Okposo was there waiting and appeared to kick it out to safety just before it crossed. A review triggered by the Situation Room, however, revealed that the puck had just barely managed to cross the goal line before Okposo got to it.

Here's the view the NHL released after the review:

Philipp Grubauer's third period

After dominating the first 40 minutes of the game and taking a 2-0 lead, Buffalo predictably made a late push in the third period with two goals to pull within one. Washington outshot the Sabres in the first and second periods, but Buffalo reversed that trend in a big way in the third as they outshot the Caps 17-6. Grubauer turned aside 15 of those shots and was impressive after barely being tested in the first two periods.

RELATED: CHECK OUT THE 3 STARS OF THE GAME FROM CAPS-SABRE

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3 stars of the game: Caps knock out the punchless Sabres

3 stars of the game: Caps knock out the punchless Sabres

Coming off an ugly 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, a Buffalo Sabres team missing star Jack Eichel was just what the doctor ordered for the Caps to get back on track. Washington dominated the first two periods and then survived a late surge from Buffalo for the 3-2 win.

After battling to a scoreless first, Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson spotted Washington a 2-0 lead in the second. They then held on in the third period as Buffalo began to tilt the ice in their favor, with Evgeny Kuznetsov scoring the empty-netter to put this game out of reach. Evander Kane would pull Buffalo within one, but with only three seconds left it was too little, too late.

Here are the three stars of the game:

1. Alex Ovechkin: Ovechkin opened up the scoring in the second period as he deflected down an innocent shot from Christian Djoos past Chad Johnson.

Ovechkin also set a physical tone as he battled with defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen all game long. After taking a high elbow from Ristolainen early in the game Ovechkin skated up to Ristolainen prior to the faceoff on his next shift and let him know that it was on. 

2. John Carlson: Carlson had a hand in both of Washington's first two goals. He recorded a secondary assist on Ovechkin's goal as he made a blue line pass to Djoos which Djoos fired on net and Ovechkin deflected. Carlson then managed to hit the puck past the goal line in a scrum next to Johnson. It looked initially like Kyle Okposo had managed to kick out the puck just before it crossed, but Carlson was awarded the goal as a review showed the puck had completely crossed the line.

3. Philipp Grubauer: A Sabres team that ranks last in the NHL in scoring and that was also without its leading scorer did not test Grubauer much in the first two periods. Facing a 2-0 deficit, however, Buffalo made a third period push to try to tie the game, but Grubauer was up to the task as he turned aside 15 of the 17 shots he faced in the final 20 minutes. He finished with 32 total saves on the night.