Young has 43; Wizards defeat Kings in OT
WASHINGTON – Still clutching the game ball, Nick Young said he might try to frame every possible memento from his career-high, 43-point performance, including his shorts and shoes.
“I’m going to talk trash to teammates,” Young said. “Might give Gil (Arenas) a call and talk trash. Yeah, it’s going to be a lot of talking trash going on.”
Good thing his Washington Wizards actually won the game. There were times, it seemed, that Young’s teammates were doing everything they could to keep his big-scoring night from being a victorious one.
The Wizards blew a 20-point, first-quarter lead, a six-point lead in the final 14 seconds of the fourth quarter and nearly lost a five-point lead in the final half-minute of overtime. They committed crucial, fundamental mistakes – fouling 3-point shooters, turnovers under the basket, missed free throws in the final seconds – before finally walking away with an exhausting 136-133 win over the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night.
“Fifteen years, I’ve never seen anything like that in my life,” Washington coach Flip Saunders said. “Frustration, entertaining, you name it. The positive was we hung in there. We made some plays late, and so the consolation prize is that we won.”
Young went 14 for 22 from the field, including 7 for 10 from 3-point range, and during one stretch scored 18 consecutive points for the Wizards, who improved to 10-8 at home but are 0-18 on the road. Six Washington players scored in double figures in the team’s highest-scoring output of the season, with Andray Blatche adding 16 points and 13 rebounds and John Wall contributing 22 points, nine assists and six rebounds.
“The rim looked like a hula-hoop,” Young said. “I was in that zone.”
Neither Blatche nor Wall finished the game. Blatche sprained his right shoulder wrestling for the ball late in regulation and is day-to-day. Wall came down with cramps while trying to drive past former Kentucky roommate DeMarcus Cousins in overtime.
Beno Udrih and Francisco Garcia scored 26 points apiece – a season high for Garcia – and Carl Landry had a season-high 23 for the Kings, who have lost 11 straight on the road and six in a row at the Verizon Center. Sacramento played again without leading scorer Tyreke Evans, who remains sidelined with a sprained left ankle. Cousins had a pair of powerful dunks but finished with only 10 points and eight rebounds, and he picked up one of his team’s three technical fouls.
The reunion of No. 1 overall pick Wall and No. 5 Cousins was expected to be one of the few interesting spectacles in a matchup of two of the NBA’s worst teams, whose 17-52 combined record entering the game is miles from the success the two rookies enjoyed in their lone collegiate season with the Wildcats. Wall missed the Wizards’ loss at Sacramento last month because of an injury.
Kentucky blue was very evident among the members of the D.C. chapter of University of Kentucky alumni association, whose presence – along with the fans cheering for the Kings’ Omri Casspi on Jewish Heritage Night – added some life to what could have been a midweek snoozer.
It turned out not to be because of Young, and because the Wizards couldn’t seem to put away the game.
They were ahead 125-119 before Jermaine Taylor’s layup cut the lead to four with 13 seconds to go in regulation. A steal of an inbounds pass then turned into a three-point play for the Kings, then Young missed one of two free throws, then Pooh Jeter drove past Wall for an easy layup with 3.6 remaining to send the game to overtime.
Then the Wizards led 135-130 in overtime, but Garcia was fouled attempting a 3-pointer and made the free throws to cut the Wizards’ lead to two with 25 seconds left. Washington’s Kirk Hinrich then committed a turnover, but he made up for it by forcing one by getting his hand on a pass with 5 seconds to go.
Al Thornton then made one of two free throws to give the Wizards a three-point lead with 3 seconds left – giving the Kings one more chance to tie. Cousins took the 3-pointer at the buzzer from the left wing, but it wasn’t close.
“It was quite exciting – if you like offense,” Sacramento coach Paul Westphal said. “Neither team could stop the other one. There were wild spurts both ways – wild swings, and a lot of shot-making.”
And a lot of it by Young, who played 45 of 53 minutes.
“He didn’t take too many bad shots, that was a big key,” Saunders said. “He got tired a little bit, took a couple of tired shots, but I didn’t want to take him out because he was so hot. I’ve always had that philosophy that you never want to take a guy out that might have a chance to break Wilt Chamberlain’s record.”
And when if the Wizards had lost?
“Oh, man,” Young said. “It would have rained on my parade.”
Notes: The Wizards shot 71 percent in the first quarter and led by as many as 20, but the Kings returned the favor in the second quarter with runs of 12-0 and 8-0 to take a 56-54 lead at the break. … The Wizards’ 38 first-quarter points matched their best from any quarter this season, then they surpassed it by scoring 40 in the third. … The point total was Washington’s highest since December 2006. … The Wizards remain without F-G Josh Howard, expected to miss at least another week or so with a sore left knee.