Published April 03, 2011
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Andray Blatche had 25 points and 17 rebounds, Jordan Crawford added 23 points and the Washington Wizards made it two straight road wins while putting a dent in Charlotte's postseason hopes with a 97-91 victory over the Bobcats on Sunday night.
After a 1-35 start away from home that threatened to match an NBA record for futility, the Wizards followed a victory at Utah last week by building a 19-point third-quarter lead in a ragged game in which each team dressed only nine players.
Matt Carroll scored 17 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter for the Bobcats, who entered the night two games behind Indiana for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot. They couldn't overcome Stephen Jackson's absence and Washington's dominance on the boards.
The Wizards held a 50-39 edge on the glass that included 16 offensive rebounds. Blatche's putback on the second offensive rebound of the possession put the Wizards ahead 96-88 with 1:43 left.
After Carroll hit a 3 at the other end then grabbed a Washington miss, Charlotte's hopes ended when D.J. White tossed up an airball in the final minute.
It was a crushing loss for the Bobcats, who had managed to pull out close victories in four of their previous five games despite makeshift lineups. But this time, Charlotte got nothing from its front line.
Kwame Brown didn't score and grabbed only three rebounds. Coach Paul Silas benched Boris Diaw in the fourth quarter after he scored 13 points but wasn't aggressively seeking to shoot.
Carroll did his best with a remarkable 11-of-16 shooting performance to finish one off his career high in points. D.J. Augustin added 21 points, but Charlotte's lack of depth was too much to overcome.
The Bobcats played for the second straight game and seventh time in 15 games without Jackson, whose chronic left hamstring strain flared up again last week. Sixth man Tyrus Thomas (sore knee), backup point guard Shaun Livingston (bruised tailbone) and reserve big man Eduardo Najera (back) also didn't dress.
The Wizards played a fourth straight game without top scorer Nick Young (bruised knee), then lost Hamady Ndiaye to a knee injury in pregame warmups. Cartier Martin (ankle) joined the long injury list Sunday, too, while the Wizards remain without Rashard Lewis (knee), Josh Howard (knee) and Trevor Booker (foot).
Washington did get rookie John Wall back after his one-game suspension for taking a swing at Miami's Zydrunas Ilgauskas on Wednesday. Playing the second pro game in his home state, Wall took part in Washington's third-quarter party.
With a variety of uncontested, highlight-reel dunks, the Wizards went on a 21-7 spurt to take a 69-50 lead. Wall finished with 18 points, but also had six turnovers, and his miscues helped Charlotte get back in the game.
Carroll scored seven points in less than 2 minutes to pull the Bobcats to 78-72 with 10:08 left. After Crawford responded with three jumpers to get Washington's lead back to 12, Carroll went on another scoring burst to again cut the lead to six.
But Washington's dominance inside proved to be the difference in only its 20th win of the season, but second straight and third in four games.
Notes: Silas is hopeful Jackson will play Tuesday at Cleveland. ... Despite ranking 19th in NBA history in career rebounds, Silas had never been nominated for the Basketball Hall of Fame — until now. Josh White, of Gastonia, N.C., recently completed the paperwork to help get Silas on the 2012 ballot. "He was a tough guy and he did all the dirty work," White said. Silas called it a "nice gesture" while downplaying his chances at induction. ... Wizards coach Flip Saunders said it's important Blatche gets in better shape this summer. "I really believe if he can get his weight to the 260s, he can become a very dominant forward," Saunders said.