- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 3, 2011

The backcourt duo of John Wall and Jordan Crawford are beginning to find a rhythm, while Andray Blatche has been channeling Dennis Rodman on the glass since his return from a shoulder injury, as the trio led the Wizards to their third road win of the season by beating the Charlotte Bobcats 97-91 on Sunday.

The win improves the Wizards to 20-56 and 3-35 on the road, while the Bobcats fall to 32-44.

“The game came in spurts.  To our credit, our young backcourt made a run,” Saunders said.

“We played great defense overall down the stretch, rebounded well and put ourselves in a situation to win,” Saunders said.

Blatche led the way with 25 points and 17 rebounds. In Friday night’s game against the Cavaliers, Blatche had a franchise-high 16 offensive rebounds, 19 total, for a two-game total of 36.   

“He came in today feeling like he was going to have a big rebounding game and that’s what he did.  He was keeping balls alive for us and giving us second chance opportunities,” Saunders said of Blatche.

“We wanted to slow the game down a little bit by giving him [Blatche] the ball, giving him an opportunity to go inside, and he did a nice job,” Saunders said.

Jordan Crawford had 23 points, and John Wall added 18 points, including five assists and three steals The Wizards led by as many as 19 points in the third quarter, but allowed the Bobcats to make a run in the fourth quarter and get as close as five points before the Wizards held on for the win.
“It was good for us to get a win.  They came back with a strong third quarter,” Wall said of the Bobcats.

“They made it more of a game.  Coach said we have to learn how to keep the lead and build on it. We had a couple games where we had leads and they just slipped right away from us, but we fought hard, got a couple stops at the end and made free throws,” Wall said.

Guard Nick Young missed his fourth straight game with a sore left knee, and was joined on the injured list by Hamady N’Diaye, who injured his knee during pregame shootaround. The team remains without Cartier Martin (ankle), Trevor Booker (foot) Rashard Lewis (knee) and Josh Howard (knee).

Learning how to close out games is a skill this young team is finally starting to figure out, which is even more of a challenge with mounting injuries keeping so many players out of the lineup.

“We’re just doing better when it gets tough.  In hard-nose situations we’re doing a better job of executing, of taking our time and not rushing shots,” Wall said.

Saunders said he told the team that he thought they were playing harder and better.

“I thought over the last 10 games we were going to get some wins,” Saunders said.

“It’s nice to see all of your players at different times have a huge impact on the game.”  

(Post-game quotes courtesy of the Wizards Media Relations Department)



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