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Terps, Hoyas, and Wizards

7:24 – Finally checking in to Wizards-Lakers after my seat was given away. No worries because now I’m sitting in Dave McMenamin’s seat (ESPNLA). Guess he decided the Lakers were small potatoes now.

7:24 – As always, there are significantly more Lakers fans here than, well, anyone. They’re still an absolutely massive draw for being one of the more mediocre teams in the NBA.

7:24 – 15-6 heading into the Chipotle Burrito Dash, Wizards are down. This place is unquestionably a Lakers home game, unless the Wizards decided to change their uniforms to purple and gold. Maybe that’s not such a bad idea; change your jerseys every time you play a really good team that travels well, so it seems like a home game! I’m onto something…

7:30 – I found myself thinking “Oh man, Bradley Beal is going to have a hard time covering Kobe Bryant tonight!” Then I realized, everyone has a hard time covering Kobe. Bradley Beal could tie his shoes the entire game and it will still have no effect on whether or not Kobe hits shots. He’s either going to or he isn’t. There are very few people who can keep the ball from Kobe. Beal’s best bet might just be letting Kobe get his while playing so-so defense, and saving his energy for the offensive end.

7:35 – Robert Sacre just jammed on everyone down low, which brings to my mind how many Robert Sacre gifs are going to be created tonight? He is, after all, the NBA’s biggest peer leader

7:40 – Start of the second quarter, Wizards down two points. Then Cartier hits a three pointer as I type this and Washington has their first lead of the game. Then he gets a steal on the ensuing possession and converts an and-one! Wizards up 3 points with a chance to make it four!

7:45 – Well, that was impressive. Cartier Martin just scored six straight points in about 55 seconds and now the Wizards have a six point lead. It happened so fast, but it’s something that could spark the Wizards. They’re turning it over like crazy. As I get the first quarter stats I can confirm that – nine first quarter turnovers. WOW

7:52 – Cartier Martin has essentially all the Wizards points in the second quarter, thanks to three 3 pointers and a three point play. The guy is a machine. He’s also a cornball brother, according to Rob Parker.

8 PM – Four minutes left in the second quarter, and the Wizards are up against the LAKERS!…..Granted, this isn’t nearly the same rendition of the Lakers that we’re accustomed to seeing, they still have more talent than the Wizards do with Kobe and Dwight alone. Fortunately for Washington, they’re a Courtney Love-style mess

8:01 PM And Jodie Mees now has 14 points on basically all three pointers, which has completely negated Cartier Martin’s effect on the game. Which brings me to my other point: WHY DIDN’T THE WIZARDS SIGN JODIE MEEKS IN THE OFFSEASON?! He’s young, he does what Cartier does only better, and he could have been a building block. He is one of those guys I feel will explode once he gets the chance to do it. Backing up Kobe doesn’t really give you that opportunity, but Meeks is a baller make no mistake about it. His Kentucky days are behind him, but I’ll never forget how dominant he was.

8:08 PM – It’s halftime for the Wizards, who are down 58-55 after grabbing a 10 point lead and diminishing it by not guarding Jodie Meeks. I’m not sure what to expect at this point. The Lakers are terrible at defense, but the Wizards are, by design, terrible at defense. Which one is going to break first? I’ll tell you what, if the Lakers keep hitting like 50% of their shots, there won’t be a whole lot of winning going on.

8:27 PM – Emeka Okafor is an absolutely horrible shooter, and TJ Simers of the L.A. Times left at halftime, citing “I’ve seen enough of this!” Great game we’ve got going on here.

8:33 PM – I completely forgot that Dwight Howard and Emeka Okafor were drafted first and second overall. Whoever says that staying in college is better for your career is a fool. That one-year rule should be completely eradicated, it’s that stupid. Anthony Davis could have played in the NBA last year and done just as well as Dwight Howard would have. A year in college just crushes some senior’s dream when he has to face a future Hall of Famer. See: Carmelo Anthony

8:41 PM – Nene comes into the game with the Wizards down 71-64, let’s see how quickly Washington gets back in the game. The Nene effect is well documented: he goes into the game and the Wizard start to win again. Unfortunately he has three fouls, so that may be marginalized tonight.

8:47 PM – I just witnessed something incredibly weird. Martell Webster fouls Kobe on an alley oop, but still dunks the ball in for him. Then, when Kobe goes down and appears hurt, everyone just waits for him to get up. They literally paused and waited to make sure he was alright before continuing. Does any player presently in the game command that kind of attention and respect? Jesus. I know he’s the elder statesman of the game, but there is still basketball to be played.

8:55 PM – So far it’s been the Jodie Meeks and Cartier Martin show. Each one was a free agent target for the Wizards last season, but Meeks said “Hell no!” to playing with the Wizards. Martin is battling to prove he’s just as valuable to the team, and I kinda believe him.

Meanwhile, the Wizards have gone on a 7-0 run to cut the lead to 6 thanks in large part to a giant Martell Webster smash!

9:15 PM – Wizards are down 97-91 with 3:34 remaining and Dwight Howard at the line. You know this place is going crazy because if Howard misses both, the Wizards fans get a free Chik Fil A sandwich….so pathetic in a losing season; awesome in a winning season.

With the holiday season upon us, it’s time to start spreading some seasonal cheer and nobody in the NBA needs the love more than our Washington Wizards. Currently sitting at 3-16, the Wiz started the season with a franchise worst 12 game losing streak before finally knocking off the Blazers, Heatles, and Hornets in their last 7 games. With games against the struggling Lakers tonight and a rematch in South Beach Saturday, than 4 games in 5 nights before Christmas, the Wiz have a chance to build some positive momentum going into 2013.

The team has been hit with all sorts of adversity already in the young year, but I’ve been impressed with their effort level and fight. Sure, we haven’t won many games, but we aren’t rolling over for anyone either. We’ve missed Nene for over a month, still haven’t seen our franchise player, John Wall, lace it up this year and have lost spark-plug AJ Price, the overpaid Trevor Ariza, and hard-nosed Trevor Booker for different lengths of time, but Randy’s bunch continues to fight night in and night out. The reality is the Wizards don’t have the talent to sustain these types of extended injuries to our best players and stay in the playoff hunt as fans all hoped going into the year.

The season may be disappointing, but that doesn’t mean the whole team lands on Santa’s naughty list. We at the DC Dime have collected a list, and checked it twice, and are happy to publish the holiday wishes from our favorite team.  All we want for Christmas is some wins, guys, but we hope all your season’s wishes can come true too.

Jordan Crawford: All I want for Christmas is some 4th quarter help. As much as I like having the green light to do my thing, it’s getting frustrating doing it all myself. Santa, when are  all the guys getting back?

Bradley Beal: All I want for Christmas is a healthy Point Guard that can help make my life easier on offense. I’m a shooter and scorer, and a certain pass first guard that hasn’t played with me yet this season would be the ultimate holiday gift.

Jan Vesely: All I want for Christmas is to develop a semblance of an offensive game. I know I can make an impact for the team on the defensive end, but my offensive offense has kept me firmly on the bench.

Kevin Seraphin: All I want for Christmas is the starting nod. Sure, I’m not a tough defender/rebounder, but I am the team’s only player creating offense in the paint. I’m a bit inconsistent, but I’m also only 23! Santa, I just want coach to let me play through it and learn, I’m a big part of this team’s future.

AJ Price: All I want for Christmas is to get back into the lineup. I’ve been able to showcase what I can do for the first time in my career here in Washington. With Wall coming back my minutes will definitely decrease. I want to continue to show my worth to help this team win. Hope the hand heals fast, Santa.

Chris Singleton: All I want for Christmas is a little recognition. I’ve been one of the team’s most consistent performers all year, but I feel like our fans barely know my name. Hell, Sam Presti wanted me as part of the Harden trade, that makes me a somebody right? A loud cheer is all I need to make my holidays complete.

Nene: All I want for Christmas is for this pesky foot problem to go away. It’s been two years, it’s really getting old.

Trevor Ariza: All I want for Christmas is to get cut a little slack, Santa. It’s not my fault I’m overpaid and incapable of performing up to my contract. I’ve quickly become a fan-favorite to hate, don’t they realize I can hear their groans when I run an isolation and force a bad jumper. I’m trying hard guys, when I get back into the lineup I’ll show you.

John Wall: All I want for Christmas is my two healthy knees, my two healthy knees, my two healthy knees. All I want for Christmas is my two healthy knees for this to be a Merry Christmas. (And John that’s all we want too)

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The Washington Wizards, with the help of a furious rally starting in the third quarter and stretching into the fourth, were able to make the Atlanta Hawks nervous last night after falling behind by 18 before ultimately falling to their division rival 104-95. Washington cut the Hawks lead to 84-82 before Atlanta finished the game on a 20-13 run ending any hope of another Wizards comeback. Kevin Seraphin and Bradley Beal led Washington on offense with 19 and 18 points respectively. Beal was the only starter to crack double digits as the other four Wizards starters (AJ Price, Chris Singleton, Martell Webster and Emeka Okafor) could only muster 20 combined points on the evening going a combined 10-23 from the floor and 1-2 from the foul line.

Washington simply did not put a full 48 minutes together on the road in Atlanta like they did at the friendly confines of the Verizon Center earlier in the week against Miami. While the comeback is admirable this team simply does not have the level of talent to constantly dig themselves out of double digit holes. It feels like a broken record when I say it but the story remains the same in a majority of these losses. Until this team can put a full 48 minutes together and compete on at an NBA level these results will continue. Quite frankly, even whenever this team finally gets back to full health it would still be rough to continue playing this way night in and night out and expect to compete for victories.

The Hawks absolutely blitzed Washington last night as all five of the Hawks starters scored in double digits led by Josh Smith and his 23 points and 15 rebounds. Al Horford made his presence felt as well as he notched another double double finishing the game with 14 points and 14 rebounds on 7-11 from the field. Washington had no answer for these two players last night and when you let them go off and allow all three of their starting guards to score at least 15 points like the Wizards did last night you really stand no chance.

It was an0ther rough road lesson for a team still searching for their first taste of victory away from home. The only saving grace is that there is no time for the Wizards to think about this loss as they find themselves right back at it this evening against the Golden State Warriors in D.C.

The Teams: Golden State Warriors (12-7) vs. Washington Wizards (2-14)

The Time: 7:00 PM

The Place: Verizon Center (Washington D.C.)

TV/Radio: Comcast Sportsnet DC/106.7 The Fan DC

Why You Should Watch:

Stephen Curry might put on a shooting display. The Warriors come to the Nation’s capital having won nine out of their last twelve games as Curry and David Lee have been leading the way for the Warriors for the most part. Andrew Bogut continues to struggle to get healthy making the Monta Ellis trade from last season look more and more questionable with every game Bogut misses which certainly wasnt the plan when the Warriors made that trade last year. On the season Golden State is 6-4 on the road and are coming off of back to back wins on the road over Detroit and Brooklyn respectively.

Why The Wizards Can Win:

This game is being played at home. So far, and especially of late, the Wizards have shown they are playing much better basketball at home than they are on the road. This isnt overly surprising as most teams do better playing in their own arena than when they have to travel throughout the country. Golden State is in the middle of their longest road trip of the season and could be primed to be picked off by a team they could potentially be taking lightly. Should the Wizards be able to slow down the Warriors duo of Curry and Lee then they should be in this game at the end with a chance to get their third win at home in as many tries.

Pick:

I think both teams will come out sluggish as both played in different cities last night. As the game bores on look for Bradley Beal to build off of last nights 18 point effort and for Kevin Seraphin to continue to be the Wizards best offensive big man as Washington takes the game at home over the streaking Warriors.

Washington: 94

Golden State: 89

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The Teams: Washington Wizards (2-13) vs. Atlanta Hawks (10-5)

The Time: 7:30 PM

The Place: Philips Arena (Atlanta, GA)

TV/Radio: Comcast SportsNet, 106.7 The Fan DC

Tonight the Wizards make a return trip to the arena known as the “Highlight factory” to take on their divisional foe the Atlanta Hawks. This marks the second trip by the Wizards to Atlanta on the year as their first visit ended with a crushing last tenth of a second defeat. Thankfully, the Wizards have been playing pretty decent basketball as of late winning two of their last three games. Hopefully this road trip goes a bit better than the last trip the Wizards took away from home when they were blown out by the New York Knicks.

If you read the preview for the game against the Heat on Tuesday night you noticed that I stressed the effort level that the Wizards needed to exude to have a chance to win. The Wizards outworked the Heat on Tuesday night and that is why they were as successful as they were against the defending champions. Any loose ball or rebound was aggressively gone after by Washington and it helped propel them to victory. Randy Wittman stressed that the Wizards needed a “Statement game” against Miami and that is exactly what he got out of his team.

The Hawks come into tonight’s matchup having won seven of their last eight games with a two point loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers being their only blemish on the current run they are on. Al Horford, who had 25 and 12 in a win over the Nuggets on Wednesday night, will be the Hawk to keep an eye on as he has posted a double-double in three straight games. Emeka Okafor, Kevin Seraphin and Nene will have their hands full with the Dominican center by way of the University of Florida this evening. If Horford is allowed to go off and have a big game a la the likes of David West, Roy Hibbert and every other opposing big man that has given it to Washington this season the Wiz Kids will have a steep hill to climb to win their second game in a row.

As has been the theme of the season so far, the Wizards will need a big game out of Jordan Crawford in order to remain competitive. With John Wall still out of the lineup without any indication of when he may return from his knee issues Crawford’s importance to this team has increased significantly. Despite coming off the bench and averaging only 30 minutes per game Crawford has proven to be the Wizards most reliable scoring option. Tuesday, Crawford led the team in points and assists coming off the bench. If he were to have a similar performance tonight in Atlanta I like the Wizards chances at winning back to back games for the first time this season.

Prediction:

Washington Wizards: 94

Atlanta Hawks: 90

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The Wizards have won three games in a row versus the Miami Heat stretching back to last season, let that sink in for a second.

This is the third longest winning streak against the Heatles for this franchise since Miami’s inception in 1989. For some perspective, the last time the Wizards/Bullets won at least three games in a row against Miami was the 2007/2008 season. The time before that? How about the first four meetings between the two teams all the way back in 1989/1990.

Going into last nights contest I said that for the Wizards to be successful in their quest for a second victory on the season they would have to out work Miami in every facet of the game. To be honest, that is exactly what happened at the Verizon Center Tuesday night. Washington came out with a lot of energy, as I thought they would, in response to the beating the Knicks handed them last Friday at the Mecca of basketball in New York City and took it to the South Beach trio all night long.

Washington was able to put up 60 points in the first half, a season high, on 58% shooting (21/36) from the floor. This was the first of many impressive stat lines for this team on the evening. Washington outrebounded Miami 44 to 43 on the evening led by Kevin Seraphin who pulled down 10 rebounds off of the bench. The Wizards were uncharacteristically unselfish last night as well setting a season high for assists in a single game with 31. When you can have assists on 31 of the 38 total baskets you score in a game more times than not you are setting yourself up for success.

It was going to take an inspired effort by multiple Wizards players to take down the defending champions last night, thankfully there were plenty of Wizards who stepped up to the plate…mainly Jordan Crawford and Kevin Seraphin. Crawford was feeling his jump shot early on and, in typical JC fashion, Crawford filled it up leading the Wizards with 22 points and 6 assists. Kevin Seraphin provided another massive boost off the bench for the Wizards as well. The French big man finished the evening with 16 points and 10 rebounds in 31 minutes. What was so special about Seraphin’s performance last night was how lights out he was from the floor. Seraphin took 12 shots and converted on 8 of them, shooting 75% from the field against the defending champions is one solid night at the office.

It needs to be noted that the Miami Heat did not just roll over and give this game away to Washington as some would assume. There was not a comfortable Wizards fan in the arena last night until the clock showed 0.0 and the Wiz Kids had officially doubled their win total on the 2012/2013 season. LeBron had a triple double, Chris Bosh went 8/11 from the field and Dwayne Wade finished with 24 points so the big three certainly showed up. The entire Heat roster probably didn’t play their best game by any stretch of the imagination, as most NBA teams couldn’t hang with them were they clicking on all cylinders, and that was good enough for Washington to creep up and earn the upset victory. Wizards players. coaches and fans alike had to withstand a furious comeback by the Heat as Miami closed what was a 10 point cushion down to a one possession game with less than 10 seconds remaining before they were finally able to do some celebrating.

A win is a win and for Wizards fans they have been few and far between so far this season. Washington has won two out of its last three including its last two games at the friendly confinds of the Verizon Center. Washington has a chance to stretch their win total to three as they travel to Atlanta this Friday to avenge a one point loss at the buzzer to the Hawks. Check back later in the week as we will have a full preview of Friday’s contest.

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Its game time here at the Phone Booth y’all. The Wizards are taking on the defending champion Miami Heat in, what one can only hope, will be a competitive matchup for 48 minutes. When we have credentials we like to live blog the game so for your reading pleasure I present Heats vs Wizards…Round 1.

Pregame Intros: LeBron James and Dwayne Wade receive major pops from the crowd as they are announced in the Heats starting lineup. No such love for the rest of the players on Miami or any of the players on the Wizards unfortunately…Share the love DC!

First Quarter:

12:00: Miami wins the opening tip and Chris Bosh starts the Heats off with their first bucket of the evening…Here we go!

10:57: Thought more fans would be booing Rashard Lewis but I guess I cant blame them, most Wizards fans probably forgot what he’s looked like since he never took the floor here.

9:11: Bradley Beal to the bench after picking up two early fouls and two early buckets…Not a good combination.

7:32: Dwayne Wade is going to have a field day with Jrodan Crawford guarding him 12-10 Heats.

6:10: Holy Crap RGIII is here AND the Wizards are winning?!?!?! Wiz 15 Heats 12.

5:21: We got a timeout on the floor and after that lukewarm reception for RGIII and a Wizards lead we find ourselves at Washington 15 Miami 14.

4:44:  Ariza to Seraphin for a one handed slam to the portion of the crowd that is here to support the home teams delight. Wizards 17 Heats 16.

3:29: We have our first Nene sighting of the evening as he is at the scorers table ready to check in…RGIII definitely flinched as the Brazilian walked by so its safe to assume Nene means business tonight. Wizards 21 Heats 18

2:34: At the under 3 tv timeout the Wizards lead the Heat 23-18…Whats going on here?

0:00 Wizards lead after one 30-25

Second Quarter:

9:30: Jordan Crawford nails another three putting the Wizards up 37-32…Jordan is feeling it tonight and that is always a good sign for the Wiz Kids.

9:00: We have a Miami timeout on the floor as Washington stretches their lead to 39-32…Spo visibly upset from the Hockey Press Box.

6:26: Martell Webster with the drive and the and 1 putting the Wizards up on the Heats 46-39. Miami without any PG right now as Chalmers hurt his hand. Time for Washington to take advantage.

4:50: We have a timeout on the floor as the Wizards lead Miami 50-44 with the home team about to get two free ones from the line.

4:07: WIZARDS UP 10!!!!! Webster with a top of the key three puts Washington up 54-44.

2:24: Under 3 TV timeout and the Wizards…Yes, the Wizards…lead 56-46 over the Heat.

Halftime: Wizards lead the Heats 60-54…Furious rally late by Miami is answered by the WizKids to keep it a two possession advantage after 24 minutes.

More Halftime: Wizards shot 21/36 in the first half and lead by 6…They better keep this pace up.

Third Quarter:

12:00 Wizards going with Beal, Price, Okafor, Singleton and Ariza

Heat going with LeBron, Bosh, Wade, Lewis and Harris

11:05 Wizards strike first as AJ Price hits a baseline jumper from about 18 feet.

9:21 AJ Price pulls up from FedEX Field and hits a deeeeeep three putting the Wizards up 67-58

8:29 We have a timeout on the floor and the Wizards lead the Heat by 10 once again 69-59

5:57 Washington still controlling play as they lead Miami 73-65 with the Chipotle Burrito Dash taking center stage. LeBron James also just truck sticked some poor kid sitting court side while attempting to get a steal. Im sure he’ll get some nice shwag out of it.

4:13 We have our first LeBron James Phantom Foul Call Alert!!! James hits the FT to cut the Wiz lead to 6 at 77-71

2:26 Udonis Haslem steps in and takes the charge after LeBron is rejected to the delight of those in attendance…Wizards lead Miami 80-73.

1:19 Crowd booing a Mike Miller foul…Because, Wizards. Reported that Trevor Ariza has suffered a strained calf muscle.

0:00 After three quarters the Wiz Kids are clinging to an 82-78 lead over the Heats

Fourth Quarter

12:00 Livingston, Nene, Seraphin, Webster and Crawford in for the Wiz…Miller, Allen, LeBron, Haslem and Bosh for Miami.

11:16 Wizards strike first as Martell Webster knocks two down from the line after a Haslem foul on a dunk attempt.

11:03 Fourth Quarter means Chick-Fil-A time for those in attendance…Chris Bosh has none of it however knocking down both from the charity stripe.

9:25 LeBron getting to the rim far to easily so far in the fourth, Washington needs to stay in front of him or this lead will be gone. Wizards up 86-84.

8:56 At the under 9 TV timeout the Wizards lead the Heat 86-84.

6:47 And the lead is gone as Chris Bosh beats everyone to a loose ball off a jump to tie the game at 88.

5:33 At the under 6 TV timeout the Wizards lead the Heat 93-89. Miami ball out of the break as LeBron blocked a shot off a Wizards player.

3:43 LeBron officially has his triple double…Wizards lead 97-95 as the arena is going nuts.

2:42 Timeout Miami as Jordan Crawford hits an elbow jumper to put Washington back up by 4 at 99-95.

2:28 LeBron misses two FT’s free Chick-Fil-A for everyone!!!!!

53.3 Timeout Washington off of the Mike Miller miss, Wizards lead 101-99 with the ball.

10.9 LeBron misses a three point attempt and the Wizards get the rebound. Foul on Miami sideline out of bounds for the WizKids up two.

6.9 Jordan Crawford knocks down two from the line after Miami got right to the rim out of the timeout to cut the lead to one. Miami takes another TO, one remaining, down 104-101. Sidelines out of bounds on the way.

2.2 LeBron misses a corner three…Nene with the rebound and Miami immediately fouls. 99.99999999% sure the Wizards are actually going to win this game.

0.0 WIZARDS WIN! WIZARDS WIN! WIZARDS WIN!

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The Teams: Miami Heat (12-3) vs. Washington Wizards (1-13)

The Time: 7:00 PM

The Place: Verizon Center (Washington, D.C.)

TV/Radio: Comcast SportsNet, 106.7 The Fan DC

The defending champions travel to the Phone Booth tonight to take on our Washington Wizards in what I will imagine will be an arena more full than usual due to all of the Miami Heat “fans” that will be in attendance.

Miami has won six in a row coming into tonight with sights on keeping that string of victories going. LeBron James and Chris Bosh have been shooting lights out this season as both are right around 55% on the year. While Dwayne Wade isn’t faring quite as well from the field as the other two, shooting a measly 49%. When you add Jesus Shuttlesworth (Ray Allen) and Rashard “I found the fountain of youth in South Beach” Lewis to the fold it makes the Heat a more dangerous offensive team. It will be tough for this undermanned Wizards squad to keep pace with the Heat without playing close to a perfect game.

This is Washington’s first chance to take the floor against someone else since last Friday’s 21 point drubbing by the New York Knicks. Ideally the Wizards come out tonight hungry to get that bad taste out of their mouth but they are running into one might tall task. Randy Wittman will have to do his fair share of coaching tonight to beat the Heat for the third straight time stretching back to last season.

Tonight, like every other night until Wall and Nene are both back, will be about effort. The Wizards needs to out work the Heat if they want to win this game tonight, simple as that. If the Wizards want it more than Miami does then they could find themselves with a shot to steal one this evening.

Prediction: The Wizards come out with energy but are eventually broken down by the three All-Stars on Miami in the second half.

Miami: 97

Washington: 88

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