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Wizards 125, Hornets 103

"Triple A" would be proud, no doubt about it. Daddy and his team probably played their most complete game in the 2007 calendar year yesterday.

Gilbert plays keep away with adults too (via Washington Post)

There was one stretch that was really telling. At the end of the third quarter, due to some strange call, the Hornets pulled to within 10. Normally, the Wizards would milk this lead and end up with either a close victory or a heartbreaking defeat. But tonight, with a lineup featuring Calvin Booth, Jarvis Hayes, Darius Songaila, and Antonio Daniels, the Wizards actually extended the lead, stomping on the Hornets' feet and putting the game away. It's the type of thing we really haven't seen enough against inferior teams.

We rip Eddie a lot on this site, but I have to give him major props for starting Blatche tonight over Hayes. Blatche was a handful for the Hornets frontcourt, and gave 10 points and 7 boards in a solid 30 minutes. Meanwhile, Hayes had one of his better games off the bench, scoring six points and getting a plus/minus of +12. It's the type of thing we really should see more, because the presence of Blatche's athleticism made it even more difficult to guard Arenas and Jamison.

Also, I need to give major props to Darius Songaila, who's looked like everything Ernie Grunfeld was expecting in the last two games. He was 6-6 from the floor, including a couple nice layups inside. He's out there to pull opposing big men away from the basket, opening up even more lanes for Arenas and Jamison to drive. His rebounding struggles suddenly don't mean as much, because Jamison is grabbing all the long rebounds the Wizards force. His presence off the bench has been big recently.

Seriously, if the bench can provide this much production, there's no reason to worry about losing Butler. Moving Blatche to the starting lineup has a lot to do with that, but Songaila's health, AD's resurgence, and Hayes' recent decent stretch aren't just happening because of a lineup switch. All those random minutes in crunch time earlier in the year may actually be paying off for some of these guys.