Dave Johnson: Wizards Lose With More Drama

Dave Johnson: Wizards Lose With More Drama
March 24, 2010, 2:08 am
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010 10:01pm

Bobcats vs. Wizards Game Highlights & Postgame Report

By Dave Johnson
CSNWashigton.comWashington----Since the NBA All-Star Break Andray Blatche has been the focal point of the Washington Wizards. Against the Charlotte Bobcats, Blatche again was the center of attention, but for the wrong reason in a 95-86 overtime defeat that extended the Wizards losing streak to twelve games.Blatche was benched 7:31 into the first quarter and did not return. In the end the Bobcats took advantage of Blatches absence and outscored the Wizards 13-4 in overtime. Gerald Wallace and Boris Diaw each led the Bobcats with 17 points. Mike Miller topped the Wizards with 15 points.I took him (Blatche) out of the game and wanted to talk to him about not getting back on defense, explained Wizards head coach Flip Saunders. He didnt want to hear it. I told him if you dont come and talk, you are not going to play. We had coaches go up to him three different times and he said he didnt want to play.In fifteen years I have never seen anything like it, Saunders added. He (Blatche) can be pissed at me or what ever but you never leave your teammates hanging out to dry like that no matter what. Especially when you have lost eleven games in a row and have a chance to win. Thats uncalled for.Minus Blatche, the Wizards managed to forge ahead and become more competitive on the boards and were able to build a 44-38 half-time lead. After getting outrebounded 12-6 in the first quarter, the Wizards had the edge in rebounds in the second quarter 16-14 and limited the Bobcats to only 11 points.James Singleton, who replaced Blatche in the first quarter, provided what has become his typical energy boost off the bench and his six rebounds in that second quarter were critical in allowing the Wizards to pull ahead. At the point- guard position, Shaun Livingston is looking more and more confident. Livingston is not only helping the Wizards get into their offense, but he is getting more aggressive in his own drives top the basket.The play of Singleton and Livingston steadied the Wizards through the middle quarters and put them in a position to win with a 65-64 lead after three quarters. It changed abruptly in the final quarter as the Wizards struggled with the Bobcats trapping defense.There was just no flow to the Wizards offense in the fourth quarter as they often found themselves deep in the shot clock because of the Bobcats full-court pressure and traps just across mid-court.It was not much better for the Bobcats as they shot 4 of 15 from the field over the final 12 minutes, but they were able to get to the free throw line and get the Wizards in foul trouble. In the fourth quarter the Bobcats were in the bonus with 8:41 remaining and they made 10 of 16 free throws after attempting only 12 free throws over the first three quartersThey beat you in the paint and they pound you. (Gerald) Wallace is such a great rebounder, but they do it off of penetration, Saunders noted. They penetrate you and take up your help and they get second shot opportunities. Our guys fought and we had guys who were in foul trouble who kept fighting and in overtime we just went out of gas.Still the Wizards pushed the Bobcats to the brink. JaVale McGee had 7 of his 14 points in the final quarter including a put-back with 16.1 seconds left in regulation to pull the Wizards within one point at 80-79. McGee also finished with 12 rebounds.Then after Stephen Jackson made two free-throws to put the Bobcats up 82-78 with 15.3 seconds, an improbable hero emerged. Al Thornton navigated through full court pressure and instead of passing to a three-point shooter like Randy Foye or Nick Young, calmly positioned himself on the wing and stepped back to nail a 24-foot jumper with 8.7 seconds on the clock.I know we needed a three and I was just trying to get to the line and get a good look, Thornton recalled. I knew if I was able to get to the line I was going to be able to elevate and get a good look and hopefully it would go in.The Wizards made one more stop in regulation, but overtime was not to be the Wizards time. Foul trouble caught up with the Wizards and both McGee and Thornton picked up their sixth fouls within the first two minutes of overtime.In short the extra five minutes belonged to the Bobcats. The Wizards struggled to create any kind of offense and the absence of Blatche, who can not only create his own shot but open the floor by drawing a double-team, was magnified.We definitely could have used Dray out there, Thornton said. He could have added a lot of scoring and rebounding. He typically is our go to guy down the stretch.Saunders, however, was not tempted to bring Blatche back into the game. In his post- game press conference Saunders was as angry as he has ever been in a season full of woe.When a coach wants to teach you something and you think you are above that because you have played 16 good games, Saunders said I had Kevin Garnett and that guy youd say one thing and he would say what you want coach? He wanted to get better every time. He never copped that kind of attitude.He (Blatche) thinks I yell at him because he takes bad shots, continued Saunders. He has taken twice as many shots as anybody. I dont; yell at guys for taking bad shots. I might tell him to go to the basket more instead of settling, but you know what that is my job. If you dont want to be coached, you are in the wrong spot.