Singleton provides latest spark for Wizards

chris-singleton.jpg

Singleton provides latest spark for Wizards

In their first three games – all losses – the Wizards have had someone come off the bench to ignite a run.

In their season-opening loss to the Cavaliers it was Jordan Crawford scoring a team-high 11 points. In their home opener against the Celtics it was Crawford [21 points] and Kevin Seraphin [19 points] leading a charger off the bench.

And in Wednesday night’s 100-94 overtime loss to the Celtics it was Chris Singleton coming up big in the fourth quarter to force the game into overtime.

“We had guys come off the bench again that gave us a spark,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said.

Singleton played just 18 seconds in Saturday night’s loss to the Celtics, but when Wittman tapped his shoulder in Boston Wednesday night the second-year forward responded with 14 points – 12 of them in the final quarter.

He finished the night shooting 6-for-10 from the floor with five rebounds and three steals in 25 minutes. His 14 points were two short of his career high set as a rookie last season.

Singleton drained a pair of free throws to tie the score at 86-86 with 33.1 seconds left. Then, after Rajon Rondo hit a jumper to give the Celtics a two-point lead, Singleton tied it at 88-88 with a thunderous dunk with 9.4 seconds to play.

Singleton showed incredible poise on the play, waiting for Rondo to jump past him. When Brandon Bass darted toward a wide-open Bradley Beal in the far corner, Singleton alertly streaked down the lane for the stuff that sent the game into overtime.

But as was the case in the Wizards’ three-point loss to the Celts on Saturday night, mistakes down the stretch cost them a victory.

With the Wizards trailing 95-92 in the closing minute of overtime, Singleton had an attempt blocked by Kevin Garnett, who dished to Rondo, who found Bass streaking down the lane for a game-clinching dunk.

“We’ve got to learn how to play down the stretch of games,” Wittman said. “A lot of these guys have never been in a position like this before. It’s a learning process of taking care of the ball, executing, making a play down the stretch. It’s disappointing because we lost, but there were a lot of good things.”

 The Wizards will look for their first win of the season Friday night at Verizon Center when the Milwaukee Bucks [2-1] make their first visit to D.C.

 

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Wizards vs. Hawks Game 5 tipoff time announced as NBA Playoffs continue on CSN

Wizards vs. Hawks Game 5 tipoff time announced as NBA Playoffs continue on CSN

The Wizards will host the Hawks at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at the Verizon Center, as their first round playoff series shifts to Washington. CSN will have pregame coverage of Game 5 beginning at 5 p.m. with Wizards Gametime. 

Atlanta tied the series 2-2 with a 111-101 victory over the Wizards in Game 4 on Monday. That was the Hawks' second straight win after losing each of the first two games in D.C.

Wednesday's start time was determined once the Warriors completed their sweep of the Blazers late Monday night. The Wizards will now share a doubleheader with the Celtics and Bulls, as they play their own Game 5.

For more on Monday's loss, check out these links:

Takeaways from Wizards' tough loss in Game 4 to Atlanta Hawks

John Wall laughs, Bradley Beal disputes idea of Wizards-Hawks rivalry

Hawks' backup Jose Calderon shocks Wizards with 'podium game'

Scott Brooks on what went wrong in the second quarter of Game 4

 

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Hawks' backup Jose Calderon shocks Wizards with 'podium game'

Hawks' backup Jose Calderon shocks Wizards with 'podium game'

ATLANTA -- Jose Calderon had a podium game against the Wizards. Jose Calderon, a backup point guard for the Atlanta Hawks who routinely is out of his element when attempting to defend anyone in the starting backcourt.

Not so much Monday, when he took on a bigger role with Dennis Schroder's three first-quarter fouls changing the tone. The Hawks went from down 27-18 to ahead 59-50 at halftime behind the spark provided by Calderon (10 points, five assists) and Kent Bazemore (16 points, seven assists) in a 111-101 victory in Game 4 to tie the series at 2.

"I always think I'm going to be on the podium," Calderon said after playing 20 minutes and making 4 of 9 shots, inlcuding two three-pointers. 

Calderon, 35, is in his 12th NBA season and rarely has had success against the physical, athletic backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal. The Wizards couldn't exploit is defensive deficiences.

"They both played well," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said of Calderon and Bazemore. "One thing I do know about Jose -- I don't know him but I've seen him enough -- he's a winner. He's a winning basketball player.

"He came in, played well, took care of the game. ... He makes winning basketball plays for every team he's been on."

Bazemore isn't a creator off the dribble. Usually, he's a turnover waiting to happen if he dribbles too much but he led his team in assists -- off the bench. 

[RELATED: Toughness and defense are two reasons Wizards lost Game 4]

While the Wizards would tie it at 77 entering the fourth, that was enough for Schroder to come back and not have to play from a hole. He could be aggressive and was as he finished with 18 points. All came in the second half. 

This was Calderon's night. He was a free agent after getting his release from the L.A. Lakers and was signing with the Golden State Warrors.

Their needs changed, however, after Kevin Durant's knee injury late in the season and they chose to go with a forward, Matt Barnes, instead.

That left Calderon a free agent again and coach Mike Budenholzer, who also is the Hawks' team president, pounced.

"We need to send a little thank-you note to the Warriors," Budenholzer said. "No doubt, Jose has infected us with his spirit. He's been great."

Calderon's final bucket came at 9:11 of the fourth quarter, when the Hawks began pulling away after the score was tied at 77 after the third had ended. 

He slipped in front of the Wizards' defenders for a tip-in and an 89-81 lead. There was no recovery from it. 

[RELATED: Brandon Jennings says Game 5 'is a must-win game']