Dave Johnson: Wizards Losing Streak Reaches Eight

Dave Johnson: Wizards Losing Streak Reaches Eight
March 16, 2010, 3:39 am
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Monday, March 15, 2010 11:38pm

Wizards vs. Jazz Game Highlights & Postgame

By Dave Johnson
CSNWashington.comSalt Lake City----The game was played at Energy Solutions Arena and the Washington Wizards could have used one. Instead with Deron Williams running the offense and Carlos Boozer finishing at the basket the Jazz extended the Wizards losing streak to eight games with a 112-89 victory.We lost some close ones and we have lost ones when we got out butt kicked, Wizards coach Flip Saunders said of his teams slide. If they think it is just going to happen and get better, its not. We have to play accordingly and we cant play loose or have throw- away type possessions.A game that was tied at 25 after one quarter turned into a one-sided affair in the second quarter when Williams penetration into the lane and his ability to run the screen and roll proved to be too much for the Wizards to handle.Boozer was the biggest beneficiary of Williams playmaking skills as he led the Jazz with 23 points including nine in what turned out to be the decisive second quarter. Williams finished with 17 points and 11 assists and helped the Jazz outscore the Wizards in the second quarter 34-20.He (Williams) pushed up the tempo in that stretch at the end of half and extended their lead to 14,said Wizards coach Flip Saunders of the games sudden turn in the Jazzs favor.The Jazz then put the Wizards away by opening the second half on a 12-2 run to take a 71-47 lead with 7:18 left in the third quarter. During this stretch the Wizards even missed four shots close to the basket on one possession only to have the Jazz score with ease in transition on a 23-foot jump shot by Mehmet Okur.We came out of halftime and did not have energy, Saunders added. I told our guys I was disappointed because we really didnt seem to compete again until there was seven minutes left in the game and we were down by thirty.The Wizards did compete early. In the first quarter Mike Miller was making cuts and looking for his shot and scored 12 points to help the Wizards get off to the necessary good start on the road against the Jazz.While the Wizards did hang around in the first half of the second quarter, the offense sputtered. After Millers early surge, he only finished with 14 points. Andray Blatche once again led the Wizards in scoring with 24 points.The Jazz offense was just too efficient. Again with full credit to Williams leadership the Jazz were able to get 52 points in the paint, place seven players in double figures, and collect 28 assists.There was a change in the Wizards starting lineup. Shaun Livingston, who had his best game since being signed by the Wizards in an 18-point effort Saturday against the Magic, started over Randy Foye at the point. It was Livingston first start in an NBA game since April of lasts season with Oklahoma City,Livingston only had six points and three assists against Jazz, but Saunders saw positives in his play on a night when the Wizards played poorly as a team and only shot 36 percent from the field for the game.We put Randy in a situation because we havent had a choice, Saunders said of his decision to make a switch. The point is not his natural position. He is good to play there for a ten minute period where you can run some plays for him and run some pick and rolls. I think he is more suited to play off the ball.As the Wizards try to move forward, they can look to the Jazz for a model of how to get better. They (Jazz) have done a good job with personnel, Saunders noted. They went through a bad stretch and they were able to get a marquee player in Deron Williams. When you go through a bad stretch somehow you have to reload.You have to do it through free agency, the draft, or both. They went out and got Boozer and Okur and then Williams through the draft. They used their cap space and they used their draft picks wisely. Hopefully we will be able to do the same.