Johnson: Clippers escape Wizards in 2OT

Johnson: Clippers escape Wizards in 2OT
March 24, 2011, 5:54 am
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Thursday, March 24, 2011 1:52 a.m.

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By Dave Johnson
CSNWashington.comLos Angeles---It was hard to see this coming. On the heels of a 35-point loss in Portland, the Wizards, still shorthanded because of injuries, turned in one of their most riveting performances of the season against the Los Angeles Clippers.Unfortunately for the Wizards, a night filled with highlights and high anxiety ended in a 127-119 loss in double overtime. In a spirited bid for their second road win of the season, the Wizards were led by their rookie back court of John Wall and Jordan Crawford.Wall and Crawford each had double-doubles. Wall finished with a career high 32 points to go with 10 assists, while Crawford had a career high 10 assists and 25 points. JaVale McGee added 22 points, 13 rebounds, and 4 blocked shots in one his most consistent efforts of the season.To secure the win, the Clippers needed Blake Griffins first career triple-double. Griffin ended a string of seven consecutive games without a double-double by contributing 33 points, 17 rebounds, and 10 assists. Griffin matched the Clippers record with 55 double-doubles in a season.Theyre hurt in there. They should be, said Wizards head coach Flip Saunders We had them nailed. Similar to our Miami game at home, one possession, one free throw, one stop, one score, and we win the game. But, we just couldnt find a way to do that.Playing in the second of back-to-back games, the Wizards were slow to get going. Eric Gordon scored 13 of his 32 points in the opening 12 minutes to give the Clippers a 12 point lead at the end of the first quarter.It was a lead the Clippers carried into the second half, until the Wizards used a 13-0 run to grab their first lead of the game at 64-63. McGee provided that lead with a gentle tip-in of a missed shot after he had come up with a steal on the Clippers previous possession.Indeed the Wizards were suddenly full of life and energy. Crawford also seized the moment by scoring 13 points in the third quarter including two reverse layups that drew ohhs and ahhs from the Staples Center crowd. On both layups Crawford was hanging in mid-air with his back to the basket.The Wizards were also helped by Clippers miscues. Going into the fourth quarter the Wizards had already scored 24 points off 17 Clippers turnovers. Still the game remained tight and the Wizards needed a Wall runner in the lane with 14.6 seconds left to tie the game at 102 and force overtime.Wall continued to lead in the first extra session when he scored 5 of the Wizards 11 points. With 7.4 second on the clock Wall had a chance to wrap things up, but only made one of two free throws to give the Clippers an opportunity.Its tough. We did everything we had to do, Wall said. We fought hard, but down the stretch I missed my free throw that could have put us up 4, and they just got the stops they needed. We didnt close it out. Its tough to lose this game.Down 113-110, Gordon nailed a three-pointer with 1.9 seconds left in the first overtime to extend the game. Gordon was able to come off a screen to get the ball on the wing and then calmly avoid a block attempt by McGee before making the shot.In the second overtime, Chris Kaman hurt the Wizards on the inside when he scored 7 of his 28 points. From the outside former Wizards guard Randy Foye came back to haunt his old team with a 27-foot jump shot to extend the Clippers lead to 125-119 with 46 seconds remaining.We had some good performances, Saunders added. I am disappointed we werent able to come up with a win. But, as I said to them all along, its just about going out and competing.