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Dave Johnson: Wizards Losing Streak Is Over


Dave Johnson: Wizards Losing Streak Is Over

Wednesday, March 31, 2010, 11:30pm

By Dave Johnson
CSNWashington.comNew Orleans---It was a night to cue up We Are The Champions. Maybe there should be a victory parade down 6th Street. The Washington Wizards are winners again.To the Wizards players that stayed competitive through the disappointment of a 16 game losing streak, the 96-91 victory over the New Orleans Hornets was a reward overdue. At the very least the Wizards only win in March brought incredible relief.It feels like a championship, said Wizards guard Shaun Livingston. I told Mike (Miller) after the game it feels like we won a ring or something. It is good to get a win and hopefully we have learned that we can play and compete. We just have to settle down and get the best shots we can.Against an All-Star in the Hornets Chris Paul, Livingston played like an All-Star and his composure in managing the Wizards offense was essential. For his first time with the Wizards, Livingston, who had 18 points and 8 assists, not only started but was on the floor at the end of game.The Wizards were effective in defending the screen and roll and Paul was never was able to get in attack mode. Paul did have 9 assists but only 8 points. David West led the Hornets in scoring with 18 pointsPlaying just 24 hours after a close loss in Houston to the Rockets, the Wizards surprised the Hornets, who had not played since Mondays win over the Lakers, with a strong start.
The Hornets only lead of the game was at 3-2 as Andray Blatche scored 12 of his 23 points in the first quarter to put the Wizards on their way.Mike Miller, who had shot 4 of 15 from the field that night before against the Rockets, led the Wizards in scoring with 27 points and rebounding with seven. In the third quarter Miller scored ten of his points but only took one outside shotInstead in the third quarter Miller was effective coming off screens at the foul line and then taking Fabricio Oberto passes and driving to the basket. For Miller the result was two layups and a trip to the line where he made two free throws.He is a shooter, Livingston said of Miller. He had an off shooting night last night and he came up to me and apologized and said I could have had you 15 assists. I dont worry about that and tonight he knocked down shots and got it going inside as well. Livingston found Miller on a play in the third quarter that exemplified the control and discipline that the Wizards played with. A fast break was triggered when Blatche defending West in the post deflected a pass intended for Paul cutting in the lane.Livingston then stormed up court but with the Hornets recovering on defense elected to slow things down instead of taking a quick shot. Livingstons patience was rewarded when Miller made a cut to the top of the key and hit a 17 foot jumper to give the Wizards a 57-44 lead.Going to the fourth quarter the Wizards enjoyed a 70-59 lead. In an effort to speed up the tempo of the game, the Hornets went with a smaller lineup with Paul joined in the backcourt by rookie sensation Darren Collison.Collison proved to be pesky as he scored 10 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter, but the Wizards seemed to have the answer. With 1:59 remaining Blatche blocked a Collison drive and then at the other end threaded a pass to James Singleton who scored to put the Wizards up 92-86.Of course it did get interesting. The Wizards almost cracked in the final minute with three turnovers in the span of 33 seconds that gave the Hornets life. A Marcus Thornton dunk off a Collison steal and a James Posey layup off a Thornton steal helped the Hornets close the gap at 92-90 with 44 seconds left.Posey was able to come up with a steal and drive to the basket and draw a foul on Blatche with 15.3 seconds left. Posey only made one of his free throws to pull the Hornets within one point at 92-91.With time running out the Hornets were forced to foul and put Livingston at the line. Livingstons free throws then forced the Hornets to go for a three point shot with 4.4 second left, but West attempt rimmed out and Miller snared the rebound.To our guys credit, even though they lost all those games they have not been down, Wizards head coach Flip Saunders noted. They have not been saying lets just get this stuff over with. They have gone out with the idea of trying to utilize the minutes they get.

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Jeff Green 'would love to come back' to Wizards, add stability to journeyman career


Jeff Green 'would love to come back' to Wizards, add stability to journeyman career

With six different teams in the past five years, Jeff Green has become one of the NBA's most itinerant journeymen.

Including his early-career move from Seattle to Oklahoma City, when the franchise transitioned from the Sonics to the Thunder, Green has played in eight different cities. Among active players, only Ish Smith (10), Marco Bellinelli (nine), Shaun Livingston (nine) and Anthony Tolliver (nine) have played for more teams.

Being in Washington this past season, though, was different. That's because Green is from the area, having grown up nearby in Maryland. He starred at Northwestern High School in Hyattsville, then at Georgetown University in Northwest D.C.

At 32 years old (he turns 33 in August), Green does not prefer being a basketball nomad. He would like to stay with the Wizards this summer as he aims for a new contract in free agency.

"I would love to come back," Green said. "Great set of guys on this team. I loved playing with Brad [Beal], John [Wall]."

Green also mentioned playing for head coach Scott Brooks, for whom he played in Seattle and Oklahoma City. Brooks was an assistant on the Sonics staff when Green was a rookie, then took over as head coach in the middle of Green's sophomore season. Green left the Thunder after his third season and, 10 years later, was reunited with Brooks in Washington.

The biggest draw for Green to the Wizards, though, is the fact it is his hometown team. Though playing at home is a drawback for some players, Green found major benefits in being around family and in the town where he played college ball.

"Being in front of family every night was great for me. It allowed me to see my daughters more than a couple of times a year, which was great," he said. 

"Being in a familiar setting from my Georgetown days was great. Being able to go up to Georgetown and watch the guys get better, it was great. [Those are] things I haven’t been able to do since being in the league."

On the court, Green found individual success with the Wizards amid a disappointing season overall. He averaged 12.3 points and 4.0 rebounds while setting a career-high in effective field goal percentage (55.5). 

He did all of that while making the league minimum of $2.4 million. On a Wizards team that was in some ways defined by bloated salaries, Green proved a bargain. 

Hoping to come back to the Wizards was a familiar refrain from impending free agents during the Wizards' media exit interviews. Bobby Portis, Jabari Parker, Thomas Bryant and others all suggested they would like to return. 

But with a new front office leadership structure set to be installed, certainty isn't offered for anyone. For Green, the Wizards' new general manager will need to evaluate whether he was part of their problems. 

While Green probably exceeded expectations this season, he was on the floor when the team struggled to rebound the ball and defend just like his teammates were. The Wizards were 27th in the NBA in defensive rating this season at 112.8, according to NBA.com. Green's defensive rating was 112.6.

The Wizards and Green may ultimately not prove a fit in the eyes of the new GM. If that is the case, Green could move on to play in a new city, the ninth of his career. 


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Former Wizards Mike Scott, Jared Dudley deliver the drama in Sixers-Nets Game 4


Former Wizards Mike Scott, Jared Dudley deliver the drama in Sixers-Nets Game 4

The 76ers-Nets playoff series has been wild from the start, but the trash talk and physical play reached the next level in the Sixers' Game 4 victory Sunday. 

The contest featured two ejections as well as a game-deciding shot with 19.7 seconds left in the fourth quarter. In the middle of it all? None other than Jared Dudley and Mike Scott, who played for the Wizards in 2015-16 and 2017-18, respectively. 

Tensions between Dudley and the Sixers had been simmering since he slammed Ben Simmons in the media after Game 1.

With 7:42 left in the third quarter Saturday, Joel Embiid committed a flagrant foul on Jarrett Allen under the basket. An incensed Dudley shoved Embiid, prompting Jimmy Butler to push Dudley away.

When Simmons to try to separate the two, he and Dudley got tangled up and tumbled into the front-row seats. Both Dudley and Butler were ejected on the spot. 

The Nets held a 67-61 advantage when Dudley and Butler were tossed, but that lead dwindled to one point with under a minute left to go. 

Brooklyn made the mistake of leaving Scott open in the corner, where Embiid set him up for a go-ahead three-pointer with 19.7 seconds remaining.

A pair of Tobias Harris free throws sealed the Sixers' 112-108 win, putting them up 3-1 in the series. Scott and company can finish off Dudley's squad in Game 5 on Tuesday. 

In the meantime, listen as Scott goes 1-on-1 with Chris Miller in the latest Wizards Talk Podcast.