Jordan Crawford made it clear after Monday’s loss to Milwaukee that there is still plenty for the Wizards to play for — and that’s pride. He still believes the team has a shot to win 20 games.
On Wednesday night against the Indiana Pacers, Crawford came out like he planned on winning a few of the team’s remaining games all by himself.
Crawford had a game-high 28 points, 21 of which came in the first half, but the Wizards lost to the Pacers, 109-96, at Verizon Center. With just 12 games left in the season, Washington (12-42) would have to go at least 8-4 in order to achieve Crawford’s lofty, but unlikely, goal.
“I came out kind of hot, my teammates gave me the ball, but we came up short,” Crawford. “They got a lot of easy shots in the fourth. We don’t have a lot of options to go to, so in the third, fourth quarter, we kind of get tired. It costs us, but we should be able to play through it.”
Playing with a small lineup without Nene and Trevor Booker, both out with plantar fasciitis in their left foot, it’s been Crawford who has shouldered most of the scoring load, along with Kevin Seraphin.
In just his second season, Seraphin often looks more fundamentally sound on the court than the player he used to back up, JaVale McGee. Seraphin scored a career-high 19 points on 9 of 16 shooting and had 10 rebounds.
“I’m glad, but I’m not glad because we lost,” Seraphin said. “I want to win the games, too.”
Seraphin admitted it’s tough to play without Booker and Nene, and agreed with Crawford — fatigue is setting in. Wizards coach Randy Wittman, though, is impressed with Seraphin’s growth.
“He works hard every day, even when he wasn’t playing a lot,” Wittman said. “Now he’s got a lot of confidence. If you don’t have any confidence, I don’t care how skilled you are.”
While Seraphin continues to show steady improvement on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor, John Wall is starting to show signs of an end-of-season sophomore slump.
Through the first half, Wall had more turnovers (five) than points (three). Seeing Wall struggle, Wittman kept him on the bench for most of the second quarter and went with Shelvin Mack instead.
“He’s maybe trying to do too much too fast right now,” Wittman said. “I think he needs to take a step back and simplify things. He’s trying to fight through how he’s played the last couple of games. It’s not an easy thing to do. He’s a competitive kid; he wants to play well and play the right way.”
Mack finished with seven points and four assists. Wall came out to start the second half with a little more energy, and finished with 13 points on 4 of 15 shooting, but he also sat out much of the fourth quarter as well.
“It was good to see him [Mack] play good,” Wall said. “He was running the show, so I can’t do nothing but sit back and watch and be happy for him.”
The Pacers (33-21) finished a season-high 57.9 percent from the floor, after shooting 14 of 16 in a 37-point first quarter. The team’s starters shot 70.7 percent, led by Danny Granger with 20 points. Washington ended at 46.4 percent.
After holding opponents to under 100 points for nine straight games, the Wizards have now given up 112 points (Milwaukee) and 109 (Indiana) in consecutive nights.
Once again, there will be little or no rest for the weary. Wednesday’s game against Indiana was the first of three consecutive games. The Wizards will play the Detroit Pistons on Thursday and the New Jersey Nets on Friday.
“We’re not holding our heads down,” Crawford said, when asked about the team’s morale as the season winds down. “We’re still playing every game. We’re good.”