Johnson: Young leads Wizards past Raptors

Johnson: Young leads Wizards past Raptors
January 16, 2011, 2:38 am
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Saturday, January 15, 2011, 9:32p.m.WIZARDS PAGE WIZARDS VIDEO
By Dave Johnson
CSNWashington.comWashington---For the Washington Wizards it really is home sweet home. After a sluggish start, the Wizards recovered from their 19th road loss to defeat the Toronto Raptors 98-95 and record their third consecutive home win for the second time this season.Nick Young was a question mark before the game with a sore left knee, but in the second half he had all the answers. After opening the game 1 of 8 shooting from the field, Young made 8 consecutive field goals and scored 18 of his game-high 29 points in the third quarter to give the Wizards some much needed control over the game.Overall we did some good positive things, said Wizards head coach Flip Saunders. Nick continues to play unbelievable at home and with a great amount of energy. Our biggest thing is that we have to get him to bring that killer instinct offensively on the road. He has not done that yet.Young continues to mature as player. As he struggled to find his scoring touch in the first half, Young did not get frustrated. Young stayed involved with 3 assists and 2 rebounds in the first two quarters and he was active on defense. Young eased into the game by making a layup and two runners in the lane before he took off and made 7 of 8 shots in the third quarter.In typical home game fashion it was not easy for the Wizards. After three quarters the Wizards enjoyed a 75-67 cushion and had kept the Raptors Andrea Bargnani relatively quiet. Bargnani emerged in the fourth quarter when he scored 15 of his team-high 25 points to force the issue.It was Andray Blatche bobblehead night, and while the give-away was a nice touch, the real Blatche was even better. Back after a one game absence because of a sprained right shoulder, Blatche played through any lingering pain and finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds.On John Walls 9th and final assist of the night, Blatche hit a 12-foot fade away jump shot with two defenders draped on him to put the Wizards in front 92-86 with 2:16 remaining in the game. Wall only had 8 points and did have 5 turnovers, but was effective in managing the offense.The Raptors Jose Calderon was a challenge defensively for Wall and the Wizards. Calderon made the first 7 field goals he attempted and was one rebound shy of a triple-double. Calderon scored 21 points to go with a game-high 15 assists and 9 rebounds. He also made Wizards fans nervous when he hit a running jump-shot from four feet to bring the Raptors to within two points at 92-90 with 44 seconds on the clock.It was not the best of starts for the Wizards. In the first quarter the Wizards only scored 19 points on 8 of 24 shooting from the field and trailed the Raptors 25-19. Al Thornton helped get the Wizards going when he scored 6 of his 9 points in the second quarter. Thornton, who also had 7 rebounds, finished a 10-2 run with a put-back slam dunk on the fast break to give the Wizards a 47-42 lead at half-time.Yi Jianlian was also a spark off the bench. Yi scored 10 points and electrified the crowd by intercepting a pass at the Raptors free throw line and then driving the length of the court and throwing down a dunk with two hands to give the Wizards a 79-74 fourth quarter lead.I thought our bench; in particular, Yi and Al (Thornton) were exceptional tonight, Saunders added. They gave us not only a lift offensively but defensively did a good job with a lot of energy and were in good positions. Yi fought Andrea really well. He didn't really get going until the end where he hit some threes and some perimeter shots as far as the second half.The Wizards ability to control the boards was also essential. As a team the Wizards out-rebounded the Raptors 48-39. To go with Blatches 13 boards, JaVale McGee had 11 rebounds and helped the Wizards to a 23-8 edge in second chance points. McGee also had 10 points on 5 of 7 shooting from the field and finished with 6 blocked shots.