Wizards 100, Jazz 95, OT
For rookie John Wall, March Madness meant helping the Washington
Wizards avoid making NBA history as a one-win road team.
He ensured that, scoring a game-high 28 points Monday as the
Wizards beat the struggling Utah Jazz, 100-95 in overtime for only
their second road win of the season.
The Wizards avoided sharing the dubious honor with Sacramento,
which holds the NBA record for fewest road victories as the Kings
went 1-40 in 1990-1991.
”It’s great,” Wall said. ”We didn’t want to go in the record
books. But we also wanted to compete. Coach wanted to know who was
going to come out here and compete on back-to-backs.”
Coming off a loss Sunday night at Golden State and with five
players out because of injury, the task fell to rookies Jordan
Crawford and Wall.
Wall, feeding off the energy from his Final Four-bound Kentucky
Wildcats, carried the load early. He scored 24 of his 28 points in
the first half as Washington took a 51-43 lead.
Then, Crawford, a rookie out of Xavier, stepped in. He hit a
15-footer with 4.4 seconds remaining in regulation to force
overtime, then made two key steals at the beginning of overtime.
Maurice Evans also scored seven of his 12 points in overtime
Of Crawford’s 25 points, eight came in the fourth quarter and
four were in overtime.
”It was great,” JaVale McGee said. ”Everybody was happy,
jumping around, clapping hands.”
The loss, meanwhile, dropped the Jazz to a new low. It was their
sixth straight as they fell to 36-39.
”It don’t hurt no more than it did against the second-best team
in the West, the Mavericks,” Jazz forward Paul Millsap said
referring to Saturday night’s fourth-quarter collapse. ”It’s
C.J. Miles led the Jazz with 17 points, but he shot only 3 of 12
from 3-point range and was 1 of 4 in overtime.
”It’s frustrating especially because they were open shots,”
said Miles, who has made only 7 of 34 from 3-point range in the
last five games.
Utah’s trio of rookies – Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward and
Jeremy Evans – combined for 17 fourth-quarter points to get the
Jazz back in the game after they trailed by 10 in the fourth
But Hayward and Evans both made key turnovers in overtime for
”The young guys were playing well,” said Jazz coach Ty Corbin,
now 5-16 since replacing the retired Jerry Sloan. ”They played
hard and I thought they deserved to be on the floor.”
Still, the loss gave Washington a series sweep. The Wizards won,
108-101 on Jan. 17. At the time, few realized it was the beginning
of the end for the Jazz.
They were 27-13 going into that game, but have gone 9-26 since
to fall out of the playoff hunt.
It didn’t help Monday that they made only 10 of 21 free
Al Jefferson had 16 rebounds (10 in the first quarter), to go
along with his 15 points, but he was on the bench late as the Jazz
started looking to the future.
The Jazz’s youth movement didn’t surprise Wall.
”Sometimes you’ve got to switch it up and see if you can find a
spark,” Wall said. ”Coach did that with us. One time, he had all
five rookies on the court. They just found a spark, got them back
into the game (and Corbin) did a good job of keeping them in, let
them keep fighting and they took the lead. Luckily, we made a shot
down the stretch to go into overtime.”
The Wizards entered having lost 10 straight on the road and were
1-35 overall on the road this season, their lone win coming at
Now they have two road wins.
”The rookies definitely stepped up,” said McGee, who finished
with 11 points and 17 rebounds. ”But I don’t consider them rookies
anymore. It’s the second half of the season. They’re damn near
The Wizards led 51-43 at halftime thanks to an impressive effort
by Wall, who had 20 points in the first 16 minutes and 24 in the
half. He made 10 of his first 11 shots and all four free throws in
Wall leads all rookies in assists at 8.7 per game and ranks
second among rookies in scoring (16.1) But with so many players
injured, he has been asked to score more.
Wall admitted he’s been feeding off Kentucky and March Madnesss.
He entered Monday’s game averaging 18.5 points, 7.5 assists, 5.4
rebounds and 1.9 assists in March.
Jazz veteran Earl Watson was outmatched against the rookie. On
one play, Wall left Watson sliding backward on the ground. On
another, Wall drove the lane then spun right past Watson for an
He didn’t feel sorry for Watson.
”This whole year, guys have been coming at me because I’m a
rookie and they aren’t going to hold nothing back because of my
age,” Wall said.
The Wizards were without five players: Nick Young, Andray
Blatche, Josh Howard, Rashard Lewis and Trevor Booker. Young, who
scored 25 points in the first game against Utah, sat out the second
half Sunday night against Golden State because of a bruised left
Meanwhile, the Jazz were without point guard Devin Harris
(hamstring) for the fourth straight game, and sent reserve center
Kyrylo Fesenko home before the game because of migraines.
Andrei Kirilenko missed his third straight game and remains on
crutches because of bruising to a nerve in his left knee.
Notes: G Raja Bell suffered a sprained right foot in the second
half. X-rays were negative. … Corbin had a private meeting with
Jefferson before Sunday’s practice to discuss Jefferson’s ejection
in the final minute against Dallas. ”We talked about; it’s over,”
Corbin said. … Wall’s 24 points in the first half were the most
by a Jazz opponent this season, topping the 24 LeBron James scored