For what it's worth, delve is defined as "to dig to the ground, as with a spade." So in other words, the Wizards may have just delved their way to rock bottom. Then again, I'm pretty sure the Wizards still have some delving to do this season, if not this week. Don't forget, Gilbert gets sentenced on Friday.
"Yeah I guess, just because of everything," Saunders said when asked if this incident was the low point in a season filled with forgettable moments. "This team, we've lost a lot of close games, you know, and you've got a chance, and when you have coaches go up and ask a player that's supposedly your quote-unquote key player to play, and he just says he doesn't want to play. "I don't care. You can be upset with me, but don't leave your teammates hanging out to dry like that. You don't do that. You don't do that. That's one of the greatest things about this sport. You look to the right, and you look to the left. It's being in the trenches with those players. And what happens is as players, you know what you have. Right now, those teammates, he's lost their credibility. What's going to happen when things go bad? You can't do those things."
It was evident that something was going on when Flip Saunders checked Blatche out of the game at the 4:28 mark in the first. The player immediately went to the end of the bench, plopped himself in the furthest possible seat from the coaching staff and began to sulk. For the rest of the first half, Blatche would remain disconnected from his team and aloof during timeouts, looking anywhere except the huddle. One would have expected Blatche to receive a pep talk from someone like Sam Cassell at halftime and come out ready to play alongside his teammates. No such luck. He continued to display the same poor body language for the rest of the game and never saw the floor again.
Flip Saunders benched Andray Blatche on Tuesday night, and then lit into him during his post-game press conference. Which was a pretty neat way for a day featuring steroid investigations in Ballston and government sentencing memos about Gilbert Arenas to end.
There is no reason, none at all that Andray Blatche should ever feel he is above being coached. I have watched basketball for the good part of a quarter century and I have never seen a player think they don’t need coaching. Not Magic, not Larry, not Michael, and if those guys, arguably three of the greatest ever could take coaching who does Dray think he is? Flip even mentioned the player Blatche looked up to in Kevin Garnett, saying KG never shied away from coaching, in fact he embraced it.
This is a serious indictment, and one that Blatche, no matter what numbers he puts up the rest of this season - when he plays again - or the rest of his career, will have trouble living down. The one-game suspension Blatche was given back in January after another insubordination incident is nothing versus an actual boycott on playing during a game.
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."
The Wizards (21-48) were horribly sluggish on the boards from the outset, getting outrebounded, 12-6, in the first quarter, but making up for it with hot shooting, including eight straight points from Miller. The Bobcats still finished with a 61-42 edge on the glass, including 23 offensive rebounds. With only a jumper and a driving dunk to his name, Blatche finished with 4 points, ending a stretch of 19 straight games in which he had scored at least 12. Even after Thornton (10 points) and JaVale McGee (14 points, 12 rebounds, 2 blocks) fouled out in overtime, Blatche remained stationed on the bench.
After the game in a subdued locker room, teammates declined to talk in detail about the 6-foot-11 Blatche, whom they certainly could have used to help counter the Bobcats' 61-42 rebounding margin, including a 23-11 deficit offensively. "You're curious. You wonder why he's not playing, but you can't really dwell on that," said forward Al Thornton, who made a three-pointer with 8.9 seconds left in regulation to tie it at 82 and force overtime.
The loss moved the Wizards closer to a dubious bit of history. Washington has dropped 12 straight and will tie the franchise mark if it loses at Indiana on Wednesday. The Wizards haven't won since defeating lowly New Jersey 89-85 on Feb. 28. The Bobcats outscored the Wizards 13-4 in overtime, aided when Wallace drew an offensive foul on Al Thornton and drew contact from JaVale McGee on a drive to the basket in the first two minutes of the extra period. Those were the sixth fouls on both players for a Washington team that played most of the game short-handed after coach Flip Saunders benched Andray Blatche in the first quarter.