Wake-up call: Reserves deserve some of the credit

Wake-up call: Reserves deserve some of the credit
February 7, 2014, 8:45 am
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(Brad Mills/USA TODAY Sports)

After taking lumps all season, the reserves may finally be developing an identity. Martell Webster's role as the sixth man hasn't changed, but it appears there's a consistent rotation with Kevin Seraphin being the first center off the bench, Trevor Booker at power forward and Garrett Temple staying as the point guard.

The statistics are supporting the uptick. In Wednesday's 125-118 double-overtime loss to the San Antonio Spurs, that quartet contributed 32 points on 13-for-22 shooting led by Webster and Booker with 10 each. The unit had 16 of their 49 rebounds, two blocked shots by Seraphin, three steals from Temple. 

When the game went into the extra sessions, however, only Webster played those 10 minutes because Bradley Beal had reached his 34-35 minutes restriction. Temple was inserted for just 18 seconds. 

"Some of us played 20 minutes straight and it was tough. John (Wall) tried to push the ball but some of us just didn't have it and that's tough," starting center Marcin Gortat said after the loss.

In hindsight, they could've -- should've? -- been given more burn even if to just give the starters a quick breather. The Wizards (24-24) were flat by the second overtime, and going 0-for-11 is the evidence.

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So while Jan Vesely, Otto Porter, Eric Maynor and Chris Singleton haven't earned minutes in Wittman's rotation, and Glen Rice is coming off of surgery to his right shooting wrist, at least there's now a core of dependables in this current streak heading into Friday's game vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers (CSN, 7 p.m. ET). 

Webster had been the only constant. The others:

  • Temple is 9-for-14 shooting in the last five games, with seven assists, eight steals and just four turnovers. He's averaging 11.8 minutes in that span.
  • Booker is 13-for-24 in his last four games (he didn't play vs. the Portland Trail Blazers because he was excused from the team for a personal matter).  
  • Seraphin is 20-for-32 in his last five games (he didn't play at the Golden State Warriors because of a coach's decision) and 22 rebounds. 

Thursday, CSN Washington learned that Al Harrington scrimmaged for the first time since having surgery to remove loose particles from his troublesome right knee in December. The three-point shooting stretch power forward could cut into Booker's minutes unless Wittman figures out a way to keep them both integrated.

Harrington would fill out the group for a second starting five that could make the Wizards stronger for the stretch run of the season.

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