"Each guy tried to do it himself," noted Wizards head coach Flip Saunders. "The reason we played so well for the first 46 minutes is because we shared the ball. Then we got to the last three minutes and we decided to play a different way and stand around and watch." Andray Blatche made it clear he came to play when he scored 20 points in the first half and finished with a game-high 31 points to go with 10 rebounds. Blatche carried the Wizards with Al Thornton still sidelined by a hip flexor injury and Randy Foye now on the sideline with a torn ligament in his left wrist.
"We were there. We've been in games. That's the frustrating thing," Coach Flip Saunders said afterward. "But I told our guys. 'We don't have that trust factor.' The reason we did so well over the first 46 minutes is because we shared the ball. All of sudden we got down to the last few minutes and decided to play a different way -- stand and watch." Saunders singled out Blatche, who had his fifth 30-point game since the all-star break. But after his three-point play gave the Wizards an 89-84 lead, he missed his final four shots -- including two in the final 61 seconds, when he admitted to ignoring open teammates. "I got to learn from it," said Blatche, who added 10 rebounds and three assists (all of his assists were in the first half). "I just want to say my teammates did what they was supposed to do. I take full responsibility for the loss. I don't know; I just got to grow from it. I have to show trust in my teammates, be more relaxed and take what's given."
For three quarters it looked like tonight might be the night. After all Houston had its own injury problems with Jared Jeffries, Kevin Martin, and Shane Battier all sitting this one out. The Wizards responded by making seven of their first eleven baskets. Andray Blatche lead the way with 15 first quarter points and as a team they were shooting 52 percent. After scoring 30 of their 53 first half points in the paint the Wizards got away from what garnered them a short lead. As the game went on Houston forced Blatche to start further away from the basket and that resulted directly in him shooting 4-of-11 from the field in the second half. Blatche finished with 31 points (his sixth 30-point output of the season) but tonight the Wizards needed him to do even more.
About the only bit of good news for the woeful Wizards is that they have one more chance, on Wednesday at New Orleans, to avoid a winless March. Their last victory came on Feb. 28 against the New Jersey Nets, a team that’s won just 10 games this season. "We were right there but couldn’t get the job done," Wizards coach Flip Saunders said. "We’ve been in games like that all season and that’s what’s very frustrating."