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Wizards 121, Bucks 107

Michael Redd did not play today due to "left knee pain."  Hmm...that's a little suspicious, don't you think?

Larry Krytkowiak does a great impression of a basketball coach that actually cares (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

In all seriousness, it's nice to get a fairly easy W, even if you were down 10 after the first quarter and lost your second-best player for the season.  Okay, scratch that, maybe not.

Still, it's nice to see the bench play as well as it did.  One thing that must happen for the Wizards to go anywhere is for Jarvis Hayes to put on his best Caron impression, and as unreasonable as that sounds, if you keep seeing games like today, it's not so farfetched.  Hayes scored 17 points, but it was the way he scored his 17 that really impressed me.  He shot only 3 threes, hit on 6 of 11 shots, and showed a willingness to stay patient and create a better shot for himself.  

There's one play that really stood out to me that demonstrated this newfound efficiency.

There's about seven minutes left, and the Wizards lead 104-93.  It's Hayes, Arenas, Songaila, Booth, and AD on the court for the good guys, and Milwaukee counters with Mo Williams, Earl Boykins, Ruben Patterson, Charlie Bell, and David Noel (what?  What a dumb lineup).  On the other end, Williams misses a 17 footer, and Jarvis grabs the rebound.  The Bucks go into a soft zone, basically daring the Wizards to shoot from the outside.  AD swings the ball to Jarvis on the left wing, and Boykins, who was sagging on a cutting Booth, comes out to guard Hayes.  Hayes has a foot size advantage, and had hit two threes in a row prior to this posession, so there's nothing wrong with launching another one.  Instead, Hayes sees Boykins charging, takes one dribble left, and pulls up for the 18 footer.  Swish.

Again, it's only one play, but the old Jarvis would have launched a fadeaway three of some kind there.

As for the rest of the bench, how about Calvin Booth?  Where did that performance come from.  He was everywhere, finishing with 11 points and 11 boards.  Of course, it helped that the Bucks went to an awful tiny lineup, but still, that type of lift was really needed.  AD also played a really solid game, and Songaila was fantastic as well, particularly offensively.  

Sure, it helped that Milwaukee sucks, and that they had no reliable frontcourt scorers that could exploit Songaila and Etan Thomas.  But it's still very encouraging to see bench guys provide key lifts.  With Caron out, those lifts need to come night in and night out.