The jabbering from Andre Miller, thought to be possibly too old before coming to the Wizards in a Feb. 20 trade, has gotten contagious. They're 6-1 with him, and even though his conditioning is still lagging he doesn't have to be on the court to make an impact.
Miller had six assists in 13 minutes of Wednesday's 104-91 win vs. the Utah Jazz. Al Harrington, who had right knee surgery in December, had his best game in his return with eight points, four rebounds and three assists.
"Defensively I was just talking, making sure everybody is in the right position," Chris Singleton, said recently about the culture change. He has worked his way back into the rotation with a rash of injuries to Nene, Kevin Seraphin and for the last two games, Martell Webster. "That's something that since we got Andre, since Al's return. That's something that's spread around the team. We're talking more."
In training camp, coach Randy Wittman was adamant about his players staying connected and being able to accept coaching from each other. It hasn't always been easy. Feelings have gotten wounded. A players-only meeting was needed after a 2-7 start. The Wizards (32-29) had been under .500 most of the season. Harrington insisted they had been lacking mental toughness. Now that confidence, and communication, is there thanks to the 34-year-old and Miller, 37. The irony, of course, is that Miller has the softest voice on the team. Maybe in the NBA.
"We were off and on with it," Singleton said of the talking among players. "Andre, as soon as he sat on the bench, you just hear him barking down and we're on the other end. He's still yelling so I just take it from there."