Blowouts have been uncommon for the Wizards until this month. They've been on the wrong side of four twice, but the lopsided outcomes have allowed for reserves such as rookie Otto Porter to get more game action.
He played a season-high 21 minutes in Saturday's 24-point victory vs. the Detroit Pistons and Garrett Temple was on the floor for 18. That duo has performed well off the bench, sliding ahead of Eric Maynor and Chris Singleton in a rotation that was unstable until recently. The Wizards (13-14) had chances to pull away in several games they led by double digits in November only to allow the opponents to win or make it close enough that coach Randy Wittman couldn't develop others. And it led to starters such as Nene and Bradley Beal playing too many minutes and eventually getting injured.
“It was good. The more we can get them out there ... and give them sustained play, the better it will continue to be," Wittman said after his reserves scored 30 points Saturday, well above what had been their season average of 18.6 at one point. "Again, Nene coming off the bench with Martell (Webster) gives us more people we can play through also. That’s not the case usually.”
Unless there's an injury to Beal or Trevor Ariza, being the first scorer in relief is where Webster will stay. Nene is a different study. He has been under minutes restrictions since he returned from soreness in his right foot and Achilles.
Wittman has said he's open to keeping Nene, who usually starts at power forward, as a reserve if the Wizards continue to show good chemistry and leave Trevor Booker in the starting lineup. Booker is offensively limited and needs to share the court with better set-up players such as John Wall and Marcin Gortat to help him get easier shots. And Porter and Temple benefit from having Nene with them.
"For us guys off the bench, we can get more reps so we can get prepared for anything that happens in a close game," Porter said of being able to play more. "We can always be prepared to get in if we have to, so getting minutes definitely helps our team a lot."