They could have come in tired and dispirited on the second night of a back to back on the road, after losing to the Trailblazers by 35 points on Wednesday. But as injury riddled and road weary as the Wizards are this season, there are games where they show competitive fight and heart.
On Wednesday night the Wizards lost a tough battle, 127-119, in double overtime to the L.A. Clippers in a game they had a chance to win, but simply couldn’t close out. Although the close ones often hurt more than the blowouts, they still winds up in the loss column.
“They’re hurt in there. They should be. We had them nailed,” said Wizards coach Flip Saunders.
“Similar to our Miami game at home, one possession, one free throw, one stop, one score, and we win the game. But we couldn’t find a way to do that,” Saunders said.
The Wizards are now 17-53 overall, and an abysmal 1-33 on the road. Clippers star Blake Griffin notched the first triple double of his career with 33 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists. The shorthanded Wizards, who were once again without Nick Young, Josh Howard, Rashard Lewis and Andray Blatche, had three players play 50 minutes – John Wall, Jordan Crawford and JaVale McGee.
“This one hurts. The fact that we had the game, it was ours to win and we gave it away,” Crawford said.
The matchup of two of the league’s best rookies in Wall and Griffin continues to draw interest, especially since the two made such a formidable team in the all-star game.
“We both had good games. But other guys stepped up on both of our ends,” Wall said.
“But, all the stuff I did doesn’t matter if we don’t get a win. I think we should have won it but they came up with bigger plays. Not to take anything away from how they played tonight, we both made it a good game, but they just did the right things to win.”
Wall scored 32 points, 10 assists and five rebounds; backcourt mate Crawford turned in 25 points, seven rebounds and a career-high 10 assists.
McGee had 22 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks, while Yi Jianlian added a season high 18 points and seven rebounds.
“We had some good performances. I am disappointed we weren’t able to come up with a win,” Saunders said.
“But, as I said to them all along, it’s just about going out and competing.”
The Wizards will have Thursday off before facing the Nuggets in Denver on Friday. Tipoff is at 9pm.
(Post game quotes courtesy of the L.A. Clippers Media Relations Department)