After a fairly even first half, the Wizards extended a 46-45 advantage by seven at the end of three quarters. Shaun Livingston led the way for Washington with 14 points within the period, yet the Wizards would once again stumble during their final stand.
New York rallied in the fourth quarter, and with 7:12 left to play, Gallinari knocked in a three pointer to tie the game at 92 a piece. Miller sank in a fading jumper in response, but it would take Washington nearly five minutes to score again.
The Knicks tied the game at 94-all with 6:40 left in regulation, and the Wizards went on to miss their next nine shots. Nick Young broke the slump with a lay-up, but for Washington, down 103-96 with only 2:02 left to play, the only hope left was that of New York missing a free throw or two. Unfortunately for the Wizards, the Knicks remained hot from the charity stripe and made all their free throws down the stretch (21-for-25 on the night).
Washington will host the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday to bring the season to an end. Gilbert Arenas is now tucked away in a halfway house, and in just a matter of weeks, fans will have a chance to root for some of the former Wizards who grew famous alongside him. And while Brendan Haywood, Caron Butler, DeShawn Stevenson, and Antawn Jamison battle it out over the postseason, I will be sure to leave my musings here as we all watch the familiar faces continue on their new journeys.
It’s been another awkward year of Wizards basketball. With that being said, Miller has stepped it up as of late, and Andray Blatche, who finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 assists last night in New York, continues to flirt with greatness. Livingston is finding a scoring niche, while Nick Young has realized, perhaps due to the absence of Randy Foye due to injury (wrist) as well as due to the ascension of Blatche, that this time could be his time, too.
While there is no easy way to have hope for a team unable to win 50 games within two seasons, there can be hope for a team that does not give up. Washington might be down and out this season, but they hold a current 4-4 record following their 16 game skid. It would have been very easy for Head Coach Flip Saunders to give up on Blatche following their dispute after playing Charlotte at home, and it would have been very easy for the Wizards to go through the motions thereafter. Instead, the team is playing harder, and looking to end this season on a positive note. Also, to be realistic, two-thirds of the Wizards will be up for free agency next season; every game matters if you’re looking for a new contract. But whether out of pride, or to secure the next big deal, no one can say Washington quit this season.
Wizards Upcoming Schedule:
• Get to Know your Wizards — Submit Questions!
• CSN: Quinton Ross and James Singleton speak
• ‘Letter to our Fans,’ from Wiz Exec Robert Pollin
• Gilbert Arenas suspended indefinitely by league
• Washington Wizards 09-10 Media Guide (PDF)
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