24-hours after winning a game in which all five of his starters failed to score in double figures, Flip Saunders issued a challenge to his starting five. Before the game the emphasis was clearly written on the Wizards white board. START THE GAME WITH ENERGY!!! Mission accomplished. Antawn Jamison nearly had a double double (8 pts, 7 rebs) in a first quarter that saw all five starters score plus nine points off the bench. The Wizards shot 57 percent in the quarter leading 36-19.
The Wizards responded on Saturday. They couldn't have played much better than they did in the first period, when nearly everything they tried worked splendidly. Foye whipped a pass between the legs of Jeffries to Butler on a play that ended with a Jamison layup. Miller drove down the lane for a nifty left handed layup. Blatche came off the bench and scored six consecutive points, including taking an underhand scoop pass from Jamison for a two-handed dunk to give the Wizards a 31-17 lead. They scored the final nine points of the first period and led by 17 when Jamison tapped in his own missed layup and watched the ball bounce around the rim a few times before dropping. Jamison finished with 11 offensive rebounds.
Boykins’ performance punctuated another impressive night for the bench which keyed Friday’s win over the Nets. Andray Blatche had ten points and nine rebounds, while Nick Young, who has made progress on the defensive end, also added ten points. "The bench did play well tonight," noted Wizards head coach Flip Saunders. "I think the bench realizes if they play well their going to stay in the game. I think they know that there’s a reward for playing hard with energy, which is a good performance. I think our starters know that if they don’t play hard that they’re not going to play."
On a few occasions, it looked as if Antawn Jamison was attempting to get his master's degree from the Moses Malone School of Stat-Padding Rebounds, as he repeatedly batted around his missed shots, earning offensive rebounds before later getting shots to fall. But after Jamison missed 16 of 26 shots on Saturday night, he was sincere after the Wizards' win over the New York Knicks that he was simply trying to score. "I couldn't make them," Jamison said of his short bunnies in the lane. "Normally with those, I can get a couple to follow. I missed maybe eight or nine like that. But I'll take 'em how I can get them right now."
New York coach Mike D'Antoni said he felt compelled to use a zone after Washington raced to a 36-19 first quarter lead - its largest margin after one quarter this season, grabbing 18 rebounds. "You roll the dice a little bit, and this time it got us," D'Antoni said. "I just didn't have a good feeling about us guarding them man-to-man."
"We moved the ball a little bit tonight, had the ball poppin'," said Miller. "I don’t know how many assists we had on how many field goals, but it had to be a high number. Whenever we get the ball moving like that on high close-outs, it makes it difficult to guard. Plus, they ran a zone, which is a dream for a shooter." Jamison also had it going, with 21 points and a career-high 23 rebounds, including 11 at the offensive end. Hello, missed tip-ins!
A snowstorm blanketed the city Saturday, and the crowd was slow to arrive. The arena looked about two-thirds empty at tip-off. "A little tough to play; the atmosphere wasn’t the greatest," D’Antoni said. "We just didn’t come out with the fire necessary."
A day-long snowstorm kept the fans away, although weather isn't the only reason for the Wizards' poor attendance. A losing record and the Arenas fiasco have also turned off the fan base. Earlier in the day, Georgetown and Duke played to a full house here at the Verizon Center despite the blizzard outside. Even President Obama sat courtside for the nationally televised college game. Knicks-Wizards apparently doesn't have the same cache for the Commander-in-Chief.
Best of Twiterville
Twitter / Wizznutzz
Ty Lue? jersey foul!! @wyshynski RT @MrMichaelLee: A fan at VC wearing a tattered Arenas No. 0 jersey with "Gil-Ty" written on the back.
Twitter / Chase Hughes:
I think that Wizards' assistant Ryan Saunders sleeps in a tanning bed
Twitter / Wizards Extreme
Jared Jefferies, where has that jump shot gone? Wizards def have a curse....
Twitter / Jack Kogod
They're doing a Sweet Caroline sing-along. Sometimes I hate this place. This is one of them.
Twitter / Truth_About_It
Twan Jamison has only had more offensive rebounds than tonite (11) one time in career, 1/25/200 as Golden St. Warrior (13 off. boards)
Twitter / Michael Lee
Jamison on missing out on ASG: "As long as I can look myself in the mirror, I’m happy. They say I’m a handsome guy, so I’m enjoying it."
Twitter / Bob Sumner
STILL better than the Knicks!