Dave Johnson: Wizards 10th Straight Loss Is Dramatic

Dave Johnson: Wizards 10th Straight Loss Is Dramatic
March 20, 2010, 5:21 am
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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.