Wizards: Randy Wittman Benches JaVale McGee

1:29 PM, Feb 29, 2012   |    comments
Some will gripe that Singleton forced too many shots. How else is he supposed to get better on offense? CREDIT: Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE
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WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- Out like a lamb, in like a lion? Obviously that phrase is in reverse order, but that's how the Washington Wizards played in Tuesday night's 119-118 last second loss to Bucks in Milwaukee.

The Wizards trailed by 22 midway through the second quarter but were able to string together a rally with an unheralded lineup. Aging guards Mo Evans (15 points) and Roger Mason Jr. (14 points) were thrust on to the court together, and spurred the comeback with hot shooting from the corners. Head coach Randy Wittman opted to go with a smaller, unselfish lineup, placing Nick Young and JaVale McGee on the bench for nearly the entire second half.

Flanked by some unusual hot outside shooting, John Wall excelled in the second half, finishing with 19 points, 15 assists and what should have been the game-winning floater in traffic, with 6.8 seconds remaining.

But Wittman's decision to go with the smaller lineup ended up backfiring on the team's final chance on defense. Ersan Ilyasova tipped in a Brandon Jennings miss right next to the hoop with 2.2 seconds remaining and an ensuing Mason Jr. traveling call handed the Wizards their fifth straight loss.

Other Observations

*The play in which Randy Wittman gave up on JaVale McGee happened seconds before halftime, when the center committed an atrocious foul on Drew Gooden, behind the three-point line. The Wizards had built some momentum before the half and McGee's dumb foul eliminated that positive surge.

The 7-footers bad plays outweigh his shot blocking and dunking abilities. I suggested Monday that trading McGee would be the smartest decision. And judging by how well the team played without him Tuesday, I may be on to something. Wittman may be forced to play McGee tonight against Orlando's Dwight Howard. Also general manager Ernie Grunfeld may want McGee on the court to look more appeasing to team's who may want the center.

*So what if Chris Singleton's shooting statistics (4-for-14) were woeful. Giving him this kind of green light on offense is the only way he's going to become a better player with the ball. His two three-pointers in the second half were important for the Wizards. Hopefully his aggressive play continues.

*The Wizards made 13 three-pointers last night and while Evans and Mason Jr. will grab the headlines, Jordan Crawford's hot play can't be ignored. The sixth man is averaging 20.8 points in his last six games, carrying the Wizards for large portions of games offensively. He finished with 19 points on 6-of-11 shooting on Tuesday. Many Wizards fans are Crawford haters, but I'd expect him to eat some of Nick Young's minutes Wednesday at the Verizon Center.

*The Bucks two highest first half scoring outbursts have come against the Wizards. Tuesday night's 67 points beat out the December 30 showing of 65. Washington underestimated Milwaukee's hustle and pace early on and it ended up costing the Wizards the game.

*The shot total for the Wizards: Booker-16, Singleton-14, Wall-13, Yong-11, Crawford-11, Evans-7, Mason-7, McGee-4, Seraphin-2, Vesely-1 and Mack-1.

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