Dave Johnson: Wizards suffer on road

Dave Johnson: Wizards suffer on road
December 9, 2010, 5:49 am
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Thursday, December 9, 2010 12:49 a.m.


By Dave Johnson
CSNWashington.comSacramento---It just didn't make sense. A night after outscoring the Lakers in the second half and pushing the NBA Champions to the limit, the Wizards tested the limits of head coach Flip Saunders patience in a lopsided 116-91 loss to the Sacramento Kings.In short the Wizards were outplayed by a Kings team that had been saddled with an eight game losing streak. The Kings played well but were also able to score an astounding 33 points off 24 Wizards turnovers. Fifteen Kings steals played a role in the Wizards turnovers, and those steals often ended in crowd thrilling and energy producing dunks. There was also change in the Wizards lineup triggered by energy and effort. John Wall, who had a career high 14 assists on Tuesday against the Lakers, was a late scratch from the starting lineup with a sore left foot and did not play. It is not related to the sprained left foot that had previously sidelined Wall.Andray Blatche missed his second consecutive game with a left hip contusion. Al Thornton returned to the Wizards starting five but was joined in the frontcourt by Kevin Seraphin and Trevor Booker. The two Wizard rookies were rewarded for their aggressive and focused play that helped trigger the second half comeback against the Lakers.Thornton, who had been working to get back in the flow since being slowed by a sprained ankle, led the Wizards in scoring with 20 points and was effective with aggressive drives to the basket. Kirk Hinrich, starting in place of Wall, also did a better job of getting involved in the offense and finished with 18 points.Still the Wizards offense was missing crisp ball movement. For the game the Wizards only had 11 assists as a team and both Gilbert Arenas and Nick Young struggled to find their scoring touch. Young, who has been a model of consistency, only had 3 points on 1 of 8 shooting from the field.The Kings played like a desperate team and opened the game with a 12-2 run. Beno Udrih scored 13 of his game-high 23 points in the first quarter. Jason Thompson added 22 points and was a force on the boards with a game-high 14 rebounds. TheThe game marked the Kings first victory since a win over the Nets on November 19. The Kings had opened the season with a 3-1 record, but had become accustomed to losing leads. Against the Wizards, the Kings always looked in control as the Wizards struggled to establish any kind of half-court offense.JaVale McGee, who came off the bench as Seraphin started, did score 13 points to go with 9 rebounds, but was involved in a play that kind of summed up the night. In the game's closing seconds McGee came up with a steal at the foul line in the Kings offensive end.With no Kings players back defending, McGee raced up court and was set for a monster finish. Instead as McGee took off from the foul line to go in for a dunk, he lost control of the ball and it ricocheted off the glass. Fittingly, the game ended on a Wizards turnover as the Kings were then able to dribble out the clock to victory. The Wizards are now 0-12 on the road.