23 Con­sec­u­tive losses on the road for the Wizards af­ter a 107-93 de­feat at Mem­phis. The streak is the third long­est to start a sea­son in NBA his­tory.

A night af­ter OT loss, Washington strug­gles to keep up with Mem­phis

The Washington Post Sunday - - SPORTS - BYMICHAEL LEE leem@wash­post.com

mem­phis — Trevor Booker grabbed a re­bound and made a out­let pass to Al Thorn­ton near the side­line. Thorn­ton watched the ball bounce to­ward him, but was slow to re­act, and when he fi­nally reached out for it, he knocked it out bounds, lead­ing to a turnover. Thorn­ton grabbed the ball and slammed it to floor, picked it up, palmed it and slammed it again.

The frus­tra­tion has been pal­pa­ble on the road all sea­son for the Washington Wizards, who can­not com­plete many tasks prop­erly — sim­ple or oth­er­wise — away from Ver­i­zon Cen­ter. And for an­other night, their faces were filled with frowns and an­gry glares, their heads shak­ing, flus­tered, be­cause they sim­ply can­not win on the road. The Mem­phis Griz­zlies handed a 23rd con­sec­u­tive road loss to the Wizards, who now own the record for the third-worst road start in NBA his­tory with a 107-93 loss.

Rookie JohnWall led six play­ers in dou­ble fig­ures with 14 points and added eight as­sists, but Washington (13-33) has started this four-game road trip with two losses, as it con­tin­ues to lose more play­ers. Cen­ter JaVale McGee didn’t travel with the team, as he was back home with the flu and they also lost start­ing guard Nick Young to an in­jured calf in the fourth quar­ter. By then, the game had al­ready been de­cided.

Af­ter an emo­tional, lively show­ing in Ok­la­homa City, where the Wizards pushed the Thun­der into dou­ble over­time be­fore suc­cumb­ing to a Kevin Du­rant on­slaught, the pre­vail­ing ques­tion was whether they would have any­thing left for a younger but more phys­i­cal team the next night. The Griz­zlies (24-24) can get out on the run, with a speedy point guard in Mike Con­ley and a high flyer in Bal­ti­more na­tive Rudy Gay, but they do a lot of their dam­age in­side with the big man tan­dem of Zach Ran­dolph and Marc Ga­sol.

Washington was able to make up for McGee’s ab­sence against the Thun­der, which doesn’t have as strong an in­te­rior pres­ence. And though the un­der­sized Booker is one of the team’s most tena­cious de­fend­ers, the Griz­zlies ex­ploited their ad­van­tage.

As ex­pected, the Griz­zlies re­peat­edly pounded the Wizards in­side, as they scored an in­cred­i­ble 68 points in­side the paint. Ran­dolph had 24 points and 20 re­bounds, and Ga­sol added 14 points and eight re­bounds. But the Griz­zlies also got sur­prise pro­duc­tion from re­serve Dar­rell Arthur, who scored a ca­reer-high 22 points. Re­serve Tony Allen also pro­vided a spark, with his con­ta­gious en­ergy on de­fense and by scor­ing 15 points. Their pro­duc­tion helped com­pen­sate for a off night by Gay, who fin­ished with just four points on 2-of-11 shoot­ing.

The Wizards wel­comed back Kirk Hin­rich af­ter he hy­per­ex­tended his right el­bow mak­ing a pass to Kevin Seraphin eight days be­fore. Hin­rich had missed the past four games, with Mustafa Shakur fill­ing in as backup to Wall. But Shakur, who is play­ing on a 10-day con­tract, was forced to sit out af­ter in­jur­ing his right an­kle and knee against the Thun­der.

Hin­rich had nine points and three as­sists in his re­turn.

The Wizards kept hang­ing around, but it never felt like they could se­ri­ously chal­lenge the Griz­zlies, who were com­ing off an im­pres­sive win the night be­fore in Philadel­phia, where they came back from a 16-point fourth quar­ter deficit to outscore the 76ers 42-21 in the fi­nal pe­riod. The Griz­zlies built dou­ble-digit leads and the Wizards would trim them, but could never get close enough.

An­dray Blatche made a short jumper that brought the Wizards within 69-63 with 5 min­utes 19 sec­onds re­main­ing, but the Ga­sol tipped in a missed layup by Ran­dolph to trig­ger a run of 13 unan­swered points for the Griz­zlies. For­mer Mary­land point guard Greivis Vasquez made two free throws to put the Griz­zlies up by 19 points, be­fore Blatche ended a nearly four-minute scor­ing drought with a layup that brought his team within 82-75. But the Griz­zlies ex­tended the lead to 21, when Ga­sol made a long jumper with 16.5 sec­onds left in the third pe­riod.

The sit­u­a­tion didn’t get bet­ter for the Wizards when Young was forced to leave the game af­ter tak­ing a knee to his right calf. Booker fin­ished with 12 points and 12 re­bounds in his sec­ond con­sec­u­tive start. Thorn­ton and Cartier Martin each had 12 for the Wizards, who will have a day off be­fore mak­ing an­other at­tempt at a road win in Dal­las onMon­day.


An­dray Blatche and the Wizards’ front court were ex­ploited all game as the Griz­zlies tal­lied an in­cred­i­ble 68 points in the paint Satur­day.

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