Strong 1st half carries Wizards to victory
Now that coach Randy Wittman is going just three deep into his bench, the play of the reserves is more pronounced and they're responding. In particular, it is Garrett Temple, previously a journeyman who was released by the Miami Heat before the 2012-13 season began as they've failed to lure him back twice since then. Wittman singled him out for his play in Wednesday's 114-97 blowout at Verizon Center.
"Temple gave us 11 minutes that are quality minutes," Wittman said. Temple only scored three points but he ran the offense well with John Wall on the bench, harassed Norris Cole and poked the ball away from LeBron James during the second quarter and it led to points. "In a game like this, John had us going in that first half up and down, the pace that we were playing, and to be able to give him (11) minutes rest in a game like this was key. He defended, made a big shot when we took John out in that fourth quarter to give John a break. He was big."
When Temple signed with the Wizards in December 2012, he chose them over the Heat who'd already released him a few months prior. When Temple became a free agent after last season, when he started 36 games in Washington, the Heat made another run at the 6-6 guard. Again, Temple opted to remain with the Wizards, who gave him one-year deal at the veteran minimum of $884,000 and more of an opportunity to play. He has earned his way ahead of Eric Maynor in the rotation.
"I chose here. I didn't have a contract ready for me (in Miami), but they were interested this offseason," said Temple, who had drawn interest from Heat GM Andy Elisburg. "It feels good. I talked to (Wizards president) Ernie (Grunfeld) when I did sign here back in December of 2012. He told me, 'I know that he wanted you but I'm glad I got you here. You're the type of guy that would love to play against those guys and show them why they should've kept you.' I definitely take pride in the type of basketball player I am. I still have a great relationship with that organization. I saw Andy Elisburg, I saw (Heat president) Pat Riley and every time I play against them I point at coach (Erik) Spoelstra. I definitely remembered that they cut me."