Wizards are off to a slow start

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Sports,NBA,Wizards,Brian McNally

It's just two games into the NBA season, but a sense of urgency has already overtaken the Wizards. Slow starts led directly to a pair of losses to Cleveland and Boston last week as furious rallies fell short in the end.

That needs to change when Washington, still searching for its first victory, travels to TD Garden on Wednesday for a rematch with the Celtics.

"It's hard when you're not executing and scoring to get stops all the time," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said after a practice on Tuesday at Verizon Center. "And at the start of the game when you're not scoring and they're running out on every missed shot or turnover, it puts a lot of pressure on your defense."

Up Next
Wizards at Celtics
When » Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.
Where » TD Garden, Boston
TV » CSN

There is no guarantee that offense will come from reserve shooting guard Jordan Crawford, the team's leading scorer in each of the first two games. Crawford will be a game-time decision for Wednesday, according to a team official, after spraining his left ankle in Saturday's 89-86 loss to Boston (1-2) at Verizon Center.

Crawford scored a team-high 11 points in the season opener against Cleveland and had a team-high 21 in that loss to the Celtics. Reporters were allowed into practice for the final 15 minutes on Tuesday, and at that point Crawford was sitting on the sidelines with a bag of ice taped to his left ankle. Crawford later put on his shoe and took jump shots during the non-contact shootaround portion of practice.

"I hope [Crawford] plays," Wizards forward Trevor Booker said. "We definitely need him. But I'm not sure if we're going to have him. ... [If not] just move the ball and whoever has the open shot, take it."

The biggest positive from Saturday's loss was the Wizards rallying despite falling behind 26-12 after the first quarter. And a big part of that was the play of forward Kevin Seraphin, the 22-year-old who had 19 points and seven rebounds in his first game of the year after nursing a right calf injury. That performance came against Celtics star center Kevin Garnett and a team long known as one of the NBA's best defensive units.

Seraphin, a first-round pick in 2010, saw significant playing time over the final two months of last season and recorded five double-doubles in March and April. Only twice in his brief career has he scored more points than he did on Saturday. The challenge now is to repeat that over and over -- and start to do so against a team that just saw him days ago.

"Especially now I have to keep going. I still have 80 games left," Seraphin said. "Now I have [to] prove I can be consistent and that I can play like that all the time. ... I'm probably [going to] get some traps and stuff like that, double team. So I have to get my teammates the ball, and I have to make the shots if I get open again."

bmcnally@washingtonexaminer.com

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