Johnson: Wizards road losing streak grows to 25

Johnson: Wizards road losing streak grows to 25
February 2, 2011, 3:45 am
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Tuesday, February 1, 2011 10:40 p.m.
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By Dave Johnson
CSNwashington.comNew Orleans -- It was a night to remember, but for New Orleans Hornets reserve center Jason Smith and not the Wizards. Elevated to a starting role with Emeka Okafor sidelined by injury, Smith scored a career-high 20 points in the Hornets 97-89 victory to keep the Wizards winless on the road.An injury to his left oblique muscle in Sundays loss to the Suns, forced an end to Okafors streak of consecutive games played at 306. Any notion that the Wizards would gain advantage in Okafors absence was quickly put to rest when Smith scored 10 of the Hornets first 16 points including three dunks.Well I didnt expect that kind of production from Jason, but if you told me D. West(David) was going to go 3-for-10 and we hold a team to 89 points, I wouldnt have expected that tonight either, said Hornets head coach Monte Williams who on Tuesday was named the NBAs Western Conference coach of the month.John Wall also picked up an award on Tuesday. Wall was named the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month and was named to the Rookie Challenge at the NBA All-Star Weekend. The recognition didnt coincide with a typical Wall night as he never got into the flow of the game and was limited to 4 points with 7 assists.John just didnt have it. We just didnt seem to have that match to go with their physical play, Wizards head coach Flip Saunders said It will be good to get home. The negative thing is we would really like to get one of these road wins. Were beating a dead horse, again. Its unfortunate, but we have a chance to regroup at home and hopefully get a little rhythm.It was the Wizards fourth road game in five nights and the Hornets defense, the best in the NBA, only added to the challenge. The Wizards only had 13 assists on their 33 made field goals and were held to just 8 fast-break points as the Hornets Chris Paul did his usual masterful job of controlling the games tempo.Nick Young did find a way to 30 points to lead the Wizards and Andray Blatche kept battling until the very end to add 21 points and 9 rebounds. Blatche had 11 of his points in the fourth quarter when the Wizards flirted with an improbable comeback after falling behind by as many as 17 points.In some ways it was a quite 30 points for Young who did a nice job of attacking the basket and was 9 of 12 from the free thorw line. For the Hornets it was their first win this season when allowing an opposing player to score 30 points.Were not giving in and were not giving up, Blatche said. Even though we didnt get a win, hopefully, we will take the same attitude and mindset back with us for the rest of the season. Im sure that if we keep playing like were playing, were going to pull off a road win.