Johnson: Wizards fall flat in Rose Garden

Johnson: Wizards fall flat in Rose Garden
March 23, 2011, 4:41 am
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Wednesday, March 23, 2011 12:35 a.m.
By Dave Johnson
CSNWashington.comPortland----Go West young man and grow up with the country is a famous quote from the 1800s referring to the United States need to expand to the Pacific coast. The Wizards have their own version: go west with a young team and continue to grow in the NBA.Against the Portland Trail Blazers it was more about growing pains than growth for the Wizards in a 111-76 loss. While the Wizards were shorthanded again, it was not about who was missing, but what the Blazers had on defense.The Blazers had 14 steals, 7 blocked shots, and forced the Wizards into a season-high 27 turnovers. Gerald Wallace had 4 of those steals and led the Blazers with a game-high 28 points. LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum each added 22 points. We gave up 33 points off turnovers and your front line gets out-scored 72-24, noted Wizards head coach Flip Saunders. They got into us. It was a situation where you saw a very young team get taken out, get into quick sand and just kept on sinking.The Wizards continued with their three-rookie starting lineup featuring John Wall, Jordan Crawford and Trevor Booker. Nick Young remained sidelined with a bruised left knee. Andray Blatche, Rashard Lewis, and Josh Howard were home in Washington nursing injuries,In ten minutes in the first quarter, Kevin Seraphin scored 10 points in 9 minutes. Seraphin took a John Wall pass at the foul line and then stormed to the basket to finish with a tomahawk dunk to give the Wizards a 16-12 lead. At the end of the first the Wizards trailed 35-29.It was a false dawn. Seraphin was in for McGee who was whistled for 2 fouls in the first 1:30 of the game. In addition to players in foul trouble, the Wizards struggled to compete on the boards and were sloppy on offense. The Blazers had a 45-32 rebounding advantage.I was disappointed that JaVale McGee picked up two quick fouls and took himself out, said Saunders. Kevin at least was a presence. The big thing about Kevin is that right now hes not rebounding for us. Were getting our butts kicked on the boards. Our bigs have to do a better job as far as rebounding.Seraphin only had 3 rebounds and scored all of his points in the first quarter. After that promising start offensively, the Wizards were held to 31 points in the second half. Crawford led the Wizards with 12 points, but on 3 of 15 shooting from the field. Crawford and Seraphin were the only Wizards in double figures in scoring.At halftime the Wizards were shooting 47 percent from the field, but trailed 62-45 because the Blazers had a 17-8 advantage in second chance points. Still the Wizards in recent games had displayed an ability to play through deficits and make games competitive.In this third quarter it all unraveled when the Wizards had as many turnovers, 9, as the Blazers had made field goals. Wallace was especially damaging in the third quarter when he scored 14 of his points including driving the length of the court for a layup to extend the Blazers lead to 73-49.You have to step in, take charges and do all of those little things, Saunders said of his teams suspect defense. Its like we forgot about what we did in the second half against New Jersey. Granted, this is a lot better team than New Jersey, but still, thats the formula for success. So I was disappointed that we didnt respond in a positive way.