Who on earth wants to talk with Otto Porter, even though he's the No. 3 overall pick, now? At least, that's what Porter was insisting after he'd set a career high with nine points in the playoff-clinching victory for the Wizards. He played only six minutes in garbage time, making all three of his shot attempts which was the most time the rookie forward has received in a month.
His first made basket was a corner three-pointer. "I've been working all year to see that shot go down," Porter said. "It definitely boosted my confidence level back up. It's been a process taking that corner shot. I got rewarded for it by working hard."
Finally, coach Randy Wittman was comfortable enough with the lead that the Wizards established to empty his bench. Bradley Beal was the only starter to touch the court in the fourth quarter, where the Wizards committed 10 of their 21 turnovers. Porter heard his name being chanted as the Wizards (39-36) extended their lead vs. the Boston Celtics to 33.
"Otto has been great. It's been a tough year in terms of playing time," said Wittman, referring to a right hip flexor injury that forced him to miss training camp and the start of the season. "Otto is going to be fine."
Kevin Seraphin, who has lost his spot in the rotation to Drew Gooden, played six minutes and grabbed four rebounds but didn't score. Chris Singleton, who had been in the rotation until he hit a wall recently, played four minutes but didn't score. Garrett Temple lost his spot to Andre Miller and played two minutes and made his only shot, a three-pointer.
Getting his reserves minutes has been a challenge for Wittman all season. It's to the point where it becomes a chicken vs. egg argument. Have players such as Porter been slow to develop because he hasn't received game action or have those players not earned it? The coach sees them each day in mostly closed-door sessions.
Wednesday's 26-point win vs. Boston, the Wizards' largest margin of victory this season, hasn't been the norm. They have had trouble putting away teams and Wittman has had to stick with his starters for too long.
With seven games left and the No. 7 Charlotte Bobcats on their heels and the No. 5 Brooklyn Nets possibly slipping, the backups getting consistent minutes at this point seems unlikely unless there are a lot of lopsided outcomes.
When Wittman can find room, however, it won't just be good for them but for the starters such as John Wall, who has played every game this season, to catch a break. Wall didn't play in the fourth quarter Wednesday.