Washington -- In the final minute many in the crowd of 15,286 at Verizon Center started to stand and applaud. It was not a thunderous ovation like when the Wizards beat the Thunder a week earlier. It was not that kind of game. Appreciation mixed with relief seemed to be the response to the Wizards 92-75 win over the Bobcats.
The Wizards delivered Randy Wittman a win in his debut as head coach and with the right response. A day after the firing of head coach Flip Saunders, the Wizards stepped on the court and ambushed the Bobcats for 31 points in the first quarter. In Saunders final game on Monday it took the Wizards the entire first half to score 32 points.
First of all, it feels a lot better than the other way, said Wittman. I told the guys when we came in the locker room that there is nothing to critique tonight. Lets enjoy a victory. For these guys it has been a long-time coming, and for them to come out and play like we did tonight, it was great.
Consider the win over the Bobcats to be step one in the Wizards' healing process. It wasnt perfect and at times it was ragged. The Wizards had 23 turnovers, but their inspired play early left little doubt which way the game was headed. Of the Wizards first 17 points, 10 were second chance points. There was a bite to the defense and a flow to the offense.
Everyone who played for the Wizards scored. Nick Young finished with a game-high 20 points. Andray Blatche, who has been battling a sprained right shoulder, had trouble finishing at the rim at times, but still contributed 17 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists. JohnWall had 12 points, but 7 turnovers to his 4 assists.
Kevin Seraphin led the bench scoring with 8 points and 7 rebounds and Jan Vesely continued to provide energy with 6 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocked shots in 19 minutes. In addition Jordan Crawford continued his trend of more disciplined games with 9 points and 5 assists.
The Wizards seized the opportunity against an ailing Bobcats team that has now lost seven straight on the road. DJ Augustin was out with a toe injury and Gerald Henderson was a late scratch for the Bobcats because of a back injury. It left a team only averaging 90 points per game with a few offensive options.
With Henderson out, Matt Carroll stepped in to lead the Bobcats, who shot only 35 percent from the field for the game, with 17 points. Tyrus Thomas added 13 points, 9 rebounds, and a career-high 9 blocked shots.
We will have some execution problems until we can get farther along in the process of cleaning things up that we need to, Wittman added. The effort that they gave should become a constant. We were able to create fast-break opportunities. We tried to get pace in the game and get quicker. I was really pleased with the overall effort.