April 26th Game Recap: Wizards vs. Heat
Wizards Close Out Season With Win
It's too bad the season has come to a close, as the Wizards wrapped up the 2011-12 campaign with a blowout victory over the Miami Heat, 104-70, on Thursday night at Verizon Center.
The game was out of hand almost from the start, as the Wizards demolished the Heat from the opening tip and built up a 25 point halftime lead. John Wall had seven first-half assists and finished the game with 12. It was his fifth straight game with at least 10 assists.
The second half was more of the same as the Wizards cruised to a 34 point win at home.
Mo Evans led the team with 18 points off the bench, Nene and Seraphin each added 15, Cartier Martin went for 12, and Jan Vesely ended with 11.
The Wizards ended the season on a six-game winning streak and now make their preperations for the off-season.
WIZARDS GUARD JOHN WALL:
On the future of the team:
“They should just know that it is going to take time, making the right changes, adding the right pieces and making sure that you are doing the things to work on your game and keep getting better.”
On closing out the season:
“It is kind of the same thing we ended with last year. The thing is, we didn't start with the same group of guys we finished the season with. It would be great to have a lot of these guys back. They are all contributing. We all know e ach other’s game. It is all motivation. Motivation, to get better this summer. Hopefully we will see this same group of guys in training camp to keep building on the success.”
On Coach Randy Wittman:
“I like having Coach Wittman as a coach. It would be nice to have him back. We respect him. He’s an aggressive coach and always right there on us, keying in on things, helping us make the right decisions. He’s been honest with what he says. He wants us to play hard and he wants us to play as a team. Once we started doing those things you could see the season change around for us. We started winning more games.”
On the trade:
“It was big. You get a low post presence in Nene somebody who can score and pass against anyone. He does a lot of good things. It built up Kevin Seraphin’s energy. Seraphin started playing with more confidence; he knew we would get him the ball. He started making plays for himself. He just feels more confident when he is out there playing. Seraphin is playing much better for us.”
WIZARDS GUARD MAURICE EVANS:
On the season:
“This six-game winning streak is going to bring a lot of positive momentum towards next season and also relevancy to this summer in how hard we will be working. For me, regardless of how the season went, it has been good for me because at this stage in my career, I am not trying to prove anything anymore. I came here to help these guys out and bring some leadership to the team in and out of the locker room. I feel like this has been a big year for me as far as making a positive impact on my team. It wasn’t just about statistics for me, I wanted to be there for them.”
On moving forward:
“There has been a great maturation process that has taken place here this season and we brought in some great guys that are unselfish and really helped change the game. That made a huge change for us this season. I fully endorse Coach W ittman and how he handled his transition. He really helped us become better competitors.
WIZARDS GUARD SHELVIN MACK
On the game:
“It felt really good. I had a few minor turnovers, but other than that it was just great to get out there and just play. You don’t really have to worry about too many things, just go out there and play. Coach Wittman does a great job of letting us play.”
On reaching the 20-win mark:
“It was kind of tough coming down the stretch. We took it one game at a time and we were able to get it done. It was an ultimate team goal. We couldn’t make the playoffs, but you still have a lot of games to play and you want to play fo r something. We were able to reach that goal.”
WIZARDS FORWARD JAN VESELY
On improving as a team at the end of the season:
“It was fun to play the last couple of games with these guys. We practiced hard—it was a lot of fun and I looked forward to going to practice. It made us better as a team every day.”
On improving in the offseason:
“I got more confident at the end of the season. I feel much better. There’s a lot of time in the summer ahead of me and I’ll just try to work hard and to improve my skills. I need to work on my outside shot. That’s the first thing I’ll work on.”
WIZARDS HEAD COACH RANDY WITTMAN:
On ending the season on a winning streak:
“Well this was a really satisfying way to come down the stretch for this team. We are a team made of a lot of young guys and experienced some success like we had coming down the stretch, winning six games in a row and playing the way we did. I thought that this stretch at the end of the year, even with a couple of losses that we had, was the best stretch that we played as team together. Having Nene come back at the end was huge for the future of this team.”
On this season:
“It was a trying year. Anytime you go through a situation where a coach is dismissed, have some trades, a few players on 10-day contracts, and injuries is hard. You never know how the season is going to transpire. Once the trades were made, we added some ten day contracts, we started playing together, they came together as well as I could expect. For them to come down, when you’re not playing for anything other than tomorrow and to play with this kind of intensity and effort, you know I was proud of them.”
On his future:
“All I wanted to do was try to do the best of putting these guys in a position to enhance their talents. I could only try and get the most out of them and put them in positions to succeed. I tried to do that and prepare them for every game. That’s all I wanted to do. I wanted to try and make sure that we kept the boat afloat and these guys did it. So, I don’t worry about what tomorrow holds. In the end I’m going to learn a lot of different things from this team and from these experiences that are going to help me down the road in my coaching. Whether that’s here or not, I don’t worry about that, I truly don’t. I try and go out each day and do the best job I can. I think when you work hard and do that, good things happen.”
On John Wall:
“I mentioned before the game, sometimes people just watch John Wall play and they don’t really understand what a point guard has to do out there. He took huge steps and nobody really ever understands when you get a player, whether it’s the first pick in the draft or whoever it is as a point guard, if he is ever going to understand and pickup being the quarterback on the floor to the point where the coach doesn’t have to do everything and call every play. He needs to have the feel for who’s hot and who’s not, what play to get that guy in a position to score, and John made leaps and bounds with that this year. That’s huge in being a top-caliber point guard.”