Wake-up call: Trevor Booker responds to teammates' pleas

Wake-up call: Trevor Booker responds to teammates' pleas
April 11, 2014, 6:00 am
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After yet another disappointing loss at home for the Wizards, Trevor Booker proved to be one of the few bright spots. He's still in the starting lineup at power forward even though Nene, who is playing with a minutes restriction, is back. If Booker plays the way he did in the last outing, maybe coach Randy Wittman will remember to put him in for the fourth quarter. 

"My teammates, they've been telling me when I have open shots to shoot it. They want me to be more aggressive. They have confidence in me," Booker said after getting 16 points on 7-for-8 shooting and a season-high five blocks in Wednesday's 94-88 overtime loss to the Charlotte Bobcats. "They see the way I play in practice. It's a little different from  the game offensively. In the next few games I'm going to look to be more aggressive."

Booker's fourth-quarter benching vs. Charlotte was so puzzling that even John Wall pointed out afterwards that he should've been in the game. 

[RELATED: Bad game management leads to loss to Charlotte Bobcats]

"He was the one guy in the first half that was out flying around. And we showed it at halftime and I told them, ‘I’ve got one guy out here that’s playing with any effort, it’s Book.’ And I thought he was really good for us," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. 

The Wizards (40-38) went down by 20 points in the first half and were able to take their first lead in the fourth. They didn't have an spark when the game went into extra time, when Booker was re-inserted and wasn't the same after sitting for so long. He was one block away from tying his career high. It was his best game scoring since March 3 when he had 15. 

"Everybody was on Book the past few days. We told him he's got to shoot the ball," center Marcin Gortat said. "He's got to do stuff he can do and I guess he needs Nene to feel that breath on his back. He played great. He was outstanding for us. He had a lot of energy. He was hustling. He got to play like this everyday."

Tied with the Bobcats by record, the Wizards lost the season series 3-1 and as a result of the tiebreaker fall to the seventh seed. Four games are left in the season for both teams, but the Wizards have to finish one game better to reclaim No. 6 and avoid a first-round playoff matchup with the Miami Heat or Indiana Pacers. 

"We still got a chance to take our spot back," Booker said. "We're going to keep fighting."

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