Dave Johnson: Wizards Surprise Nuggets


Dave Johnson: Wizards Surprise Nuggets

Friday, February 19, 2010 9:35 PM

By Dave Johnson
CSNWashington.comWashington---Welcome to Washington Al Thornton and Josh Howard. Two of the newest Wizards helped spark a 107-97 win over the Denver Nuggets built on old-fashioned grit and determination.In his Wizards debut, it was Thornton who led the team in scoring with 21 points and held the Nuggets Carmelo Anthony scoreless in the fourth quarter on 0-5 shooting from the field. Anthony, who finished with 23-points, is one of the NBAs great closers. The night before he scored 40 points including the game winner in an overtime victory against the Cavaliers, but Anthony struggled to get his shot off against Thornton and did not even get to the foul line in the fourth quarter.I just tried to get up in him and make him frustrated, said Thornton. Once Carmelo gets into a groove and gets his shot going hes very hard to guard. I just tried to get in him and frustrate him a little bit and make him shoot off balance shots.

Theres been a knock on me that I dont play any defense so I just tried to come out and play defense the best that I could., added Thornton who was acquired from the LA Clippers in the three-team six-player deal that sent Antawn Jamison to Cleveland and just joined the Wizards Friday morningAl (Thornton) played with a great amount of energy, head coach Flip Saunders said. I told the guys at the shoot around, we have to play like a bunch of mad dogs and thats how we played tonight. We went after loose balls, we went after rebounds, we didnt give up on plays and then the crowd gets into it and the crowd keeps our guys juiced up.Indeed the crowd of 17,212 was standing for most of the final minute of the game as the Wizards closed out a fourth quarter in which they outscored the Nuggets, the NBAs third-highest scoring team, 34-15.The Wizards were in trouble in the third quarter when they trailed by as many as 13-points and only shot 7 of 21 from the field. A determined effort on the boards gave the Wizards a chance by preventing the Nuggets from getting second chance points.For the game the Wizards out-rebounded the Nuggets 47-40 and only allowed the Nuggets eight second-chance points. In addition the Wizards had nine blocked shots and only turned the ball over ten times against a Nuggets team that is second in the league in steals.Down 82-73 entering the fourth quarter, the Wizards went on a 22-11 run capped by Howards 19-foot jumper to give the Wizards a 95-93 lead with 5:51 left in the game. Howard, in only his second game with the Wizards since being traded from Dallas, added 20 points.Chauncey Billups led the Nuggets with 28-points but only scored four points in the final quarter. Billups seemed to be bothered by the length of the Wizards Nick Young who used his 67 frame to his advantage and offered one of the most inspired defensive efforts of his career.Its like theyre starting all over again, Billups noted. Guys are going to be out there playing extremely hard, trying to earn the coachs trust, and earn some minutes. All the new guys came out and played so well and so hard. They had an effect on the game.Against the Nuggets the Wizards had the proper response from the start and scored 28-points in the first quarter. Andray Blatche, coming off a career-high 33-points against the Timberwolves, scored the games first ten points and finished with 18-points and 11- rebounds.Andray (Blatche) had a great first half and carried us in that half and when he picked up his fourth (foul) we went to the bench and those guys started playing well,Saunders said. "Even though we didnt play Andray or JaVale (McGee) down the stretch those are the guys up on the bench cheering the whole time in the fourth quarter, we havent had that this year.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 21, five days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington

Should the Redskins pursue Dez Bryant? This topic was one like a meteor, very hot for a short period of time before it quickly faded out. It started to heat up as soon as the Cowboys cut Dez (about a month too late) and when it was reported that he wanted to play against Dallas twice a year it really picked up steam. But then people started to actually think and figured out that signing Bryant didn’t make much sense for the Redskins. Add to that the reports that the Redskins had no interest and would not look into signing Dez in the future and the Redskins fans quickly lost enthusiasm for the topic.

Seven-round Redskins mock draft—I think that most Redskins fans would be happy with this mock. Well, I’ll say some Redskins fans, most is a pretty strong word in this case. 

Is the draft pool deep enough for the Redskins to trade back? There is plenty of talk about the Redskins trading down in the first round to recoup the third-round pick they gave up in the Alex Smith trade. But they need to be careful. Many consider the draft to be top heavy and they may lose their chance to pick up an impact player if they trade back too far. The question then becomes one of quality vs. quantity. 

Three questions as offseason workouts get underway—There will be plenty more questions that we can ask about this team. But we don’t really know what to ask before the draft, particularly when it comes to the defensive line and running back. One the personnel settle into place we will know what we don’t know. 

Tweet of the week

On Chris Cooley’s thought that the Redskins might try to trade back and get Da’Ron Payne in the draft and the use the assets obtained to move up to get Derrius Guice. 

This is related to the questions about trading back. On paper it looks like a good idea, assuming the Redskins want Payne. We’re pretty sure they would like to have Guice but we haven’t heard as much about the Alabama defensive lineman. 

I had many reply that Guice won’t be there in the second round. It’s possible, perhaps even likely, but you just don’t know. There was zero chance that Jonathan Allen would be there at No. 17 last year, right? 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS.


Days until:

—OTAs start (5/22) 31
—Training camp starts (7/26) 96
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 141

In case you missed it

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Game 5 Capitals vs. Blue Jackets Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

Game 5 Capitals vs. Blue Jackets Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

Alex Ovechkin said the Caps would return to Washington with a tied series. The Caps captain is a man of his word as the Caps won both Game 3 and Game 4 to even up the series at two games apiece.

John Tortorella had no answers after seeing his Columbus Blue Jackets fall in Game 4, but he will have to figure things out quickly as the series shifts back to Washington for a pivotal Game 5.

The Caps return home with two straight wins and all the momentum. There's just one problem: No one seemingly can win at home.

What: Washington Capitals vs. Columbus Blue Jackets, Round 1, Game 5

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 3:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Blue Jackets, Game 5 will be broadcast on NBC.

Live Stream: You can watch Capitals-Blue Jackets, Game 5 on NBC Sports' live stream page.


The Capitals take on the Blue Jackets in Game 5 on Saturday, April 21 at 3:00 p.m. ET in Washington. The series is tied 2-2.


Capitals-Blue Jackets, Game 5 will be broadcast on NBC. Coverage kicks off on NBC Sports Washington with Capitals FaceOff at 2:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 2:30 p.m. Tune back to NBC Sports Washington after the game for Caps Extra and Caps Overtime at 6:00 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

2:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
2:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
3:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Blue Jackets on NBC
5:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
6:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime


Capitals-Blue Jackets Game 5 is available to stream live here through the NBC Sports live stream page.


Here are the Caps' projected lines:

Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Tom Wilson
Chandler Stephenson - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly- Lars Eller - Devante Smith-Pelly
Jakub Vrana -  Jay Beagle - Alex Chiasson

Michal Kempny - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Christian Djoos

Braden Holtby with Philipp Grubauer as backup.

Scratches: Travis Boyd, Andre Burakovsky (upper-body), Shane Gerisch, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek


Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.