Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wizards Fall To Kings

After winning three straight games on their home floor, the Washington Wizards embarked on a 5 game road trip on the west coast, starting in the California state capital to take on the 14-24 Sacramento Kings. The Kings had been having somewhat a dramatic season, featuring emotional clashes between star center DeMarcus Cousins and head coach Keith Smart. After being suspended by the league for two games for confronting San Antonio announcer Sean Elliot after the game, Cousins was suspended indefinitely by the organization for "conduct detrimental to the team" on Dec. 22nd. Cousins returned to the team 2 days later, and continued his stellar play, averaging 21.8 points and 12.5 rebounds over the last month, despite continuing trade rumors. Adding to the distractions, the franchise had been put up for sale by owners Joe and Gavin Maloof, and were in negotiations with a group of investors intent on moving the team to Seattle, forcing Kevin Johnson, the former NBA star and mayor of Sacramento to fight in vain to keep the franchise in Sac-town, even though there are signs that the team may indeed be headed further North.

Both teams started out the game hot. The Wizards shot 57% in the opening period, but Sacramento shot 64%, claiming a 32-31 lead after the 1st quarter. Washington then went on 13-4 run to end the 2nd quarter, taking a 56-48 lead into the half.

Wizards guard A.J. Price is defended by Kings guard Isaiah Thomas

After leading by as many as 11, the Wizards took a 77-72 lead into the 4th quarter. With 1:48 left, and the Wizards up 91-88, Cousins converted a lay-up and drew the foul on Kevin Seraphin, completing a three-point play to tie the game at 91. After Martell Webster hit a three-pointer to put the Wizards up 94-91, John Salmons answered back with three of his own, tying the game back up at 94. Then, with 30 seconds left in the game, John Wall stole the ball and ran into the moving Jimmer Fredette, who was charged with the blocking foul. Wall missed both free throws, giving the ball back to Sacramento. Tyreke Evans was fouled on the drive by Nene, and knocked down 1 of 2 free throws to give Sacramento a 1 point lead with 10.8 seconds remaining. The Wizards had 2 chances to win the game, first on a runner by Bradley Beal that went off the rim and out to John Wall who then air-balled a jumper, sealing a 95-94 Sacramento win.

The Kings were led by Evans, Cousins, and John Salmons who each had 21 points. The Wizards were led by Bradley Beal, who contributed a career-high 26 points in a losing effort, converting 6-7 from three-point range. The Wizards will square off the Nuggets in Denver on Friday.