LA Clippers (25-41) at Washington (16-47)

By KATE HEDLIN, STATS Writer Friday, Mar 11, 2011 Tipoff: 7:00 pm EST Sat Mar 12, 2011

While there hasn’t been much to cheer about for the Washington Wizards and Los Angeles Clippers, the play of John Wall(notes) and Blake Griffin(notes) has both franchises optimistic about the future.

The last two No. 1 overall draft picks will face off for the first time as the Wizards and Clippers meet at the Verizon Center on Saturday night.

Griffin and Wall are the NBA’s top two scoring rookies, averaging 22.5 points and 15.5 points, respectively. Griffin was the No. 1 overall pick of the Clippers in 2009, missing last season because of a knee injury, while the Wizards selected Wall at No. 1 last summer.

Despite the players’ individual successes this season, Washington has the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference while Los Angeles is third-worst in the West.

The Clippers (25-41) were denied their first five-game winning streak since 2006 on Friday, blowing a 20-point lead in a 102-98 overtime loss to New Jersey. Griffin bounced back with 23 points and nine rebounds after being held to 12 points in a win over Boston on Wednesday, but missed a potential go-ahead free throw with 1.2 seconds left in regulation.

Mo Williams(notes), who came in averaging 19.0 points in five games, was held to nine on 3-of-17 shooting.

“It’s just one of those games that leaves a sour taste in your mouth,” Williams said. “Obviously I’m disappointed in my performance personally. As a team we didn’t do the things we did the first half for whatever reason. It starts with me, also. I take a lot of blame in it. Just not being able to stop the bleeding in the second half and make plays for my teammates.”

Despite their struggles this season, the Clippers may have a good chance at bouncing back against the Wizards (16-47), who have lost nine of 10. They are coming off a 95-76 loss to Milwaukee on Tuesday.

Washington tied its lowest-scoring performance of the season while shooting 37.6 percent. However, coach Flip Saunders liked what he saw late in the first quarter and early in the second when he had five rookies on the floor.

“That was probably our best stint, to be honest,” Saunders said. “They competed, and we had really a pretty good stretch at that time.”

Jordan Crawford(notes) scored a career-high 22 points while Wall had 10 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.

“We played with a lot of hustle, got back into the game, but unfortunately with young players like us sometimes there are slipups, so we couldn’t maintain keeping up with them and they got out to a good lead,” Crawford said.

Josh Howard(notes) is expected to be back in the lineup Saturday after missing the last three games but Andray Blatche(notes) will be out with a shoulder injury suffered Tuesday.

The Wizards have lost three straight to the Clippers.

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Saturday, Mar 12