Wizards-Bobcats highlights 11/24
Nene sat at his locker stall, his throbbing left foot in a bucket of ice and the look of exhaustion on his face.
The Wizards’ big man had just played 29 minutes, including virtually all 10 minutes of double overtime, in a physical 108-106 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats, the Wizards’ 11th straight defeat.
This was not the game plan for a player who had missed the first nine games of the season with plantar fasciitis. The idea was to work Nene slowly into the lineup – not give him 29 minutes.
“It wasn’t,” Nene said after putting up a season-high 19 points and five rebounds in the loss. “Sometimes you just take the momentum and go, man. I have no choice. I tried helping my team. I knew my limitations, but I tried to help my team.”
Wizards coach Randy Wittman wanted to set a 20-minute time limit on the Wizards’ 6-foot-11, 250-pound center. But when it was clear Nene was the best player on the floor, Wittman stayed with him.
“He makes everybody a little bit better for us,” Wittman said. “I thought his legs got heavy, but he gutted it out. He makes us better. He has a very bright basketball IQ that we need more of. I think he was gassed. I tip my hat to him for trying.”
Nene shot a team-best 8-for-13 from the field and was 3-for-4 from the line.
“He’s so great at what he does,” rookie Bradley Beal said. “He can shoot and score, but he can pass. I mean, they triple-teamed him one time. I’m like, ‘You guys don’t want him to touch the ball that much.’
“I even told him, ‘You shouldn’t even be playing, should you?’ And he’s like, ‘No.’ It just shows you what he’s sacrificed for this team.”
Nene said he’s never been on a team that started so poorly and suggested the Wizards might need some divine intervention.
“I lost the count,” Nene said. “I don’t know how many games we’ve lost. I just know there were a couple games we were supposed to win. Just God knows the reason and only he can answer. What I know is we will keep fighting.”