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Washington got off to an nice start with Andray Blatche and Randy Foye combining to score 17 points in the first quarter, but it was pretty much all down hill from there. The Bucks closed out the first on a 12-5 run and took an eight-point lead into the locker rooms at the half. Still very much in contention the Wizards came out uncharacteristically flat in the third quarter. Look no further than the turnover column. Washington mustered as many turnovers as points, 12, and ended the third with zero assists. Meanwhile Milwaukee would score 21 points in the quarter and pull away for good.
The Wizards have managed to remain competitive the past two weeks, compensating for a lack of skill with will. But Coach Flip Saunders criticized his team for not being aggressive -- which contributed to 21 turnovers on the night -- and Blatche felt the team took a step backward on Wednesday. "We was just playing sloppy. We wasn't playing how Flip taught us, the way Flip coached us," Blatche said. "We worked too hard to let any team beat up on us like that. We're a good enough team that no team should have us down by 20."
With the chance to play, Blatche is finally doing what the team has asked him to do for awhile. Word is he's in the weight room regularly, is practicing harder, trying on the defensive end. In the victory over the Nets the other night, Blatche became the first Washington player to have 15 baskets and 15 rebounds in a game since Tom Gugliotta did it for the Bullets in November of 1992. In that same game he became the first player this season to post numbers of at least 36 points, 15 rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocked shots in one game. Nobody had done it in a Bullets/Wizards uniform since Elvin Hayes 35 years ago. The pouting is over because Blatche doesn't have to worry that Wizards management, including the team's trainers, only worries about the star players. Hell, he is the star player. Yes, it's preposterous that Blatche thought that in the first place, but this is what talented kids, especially those who jump straight to the NBA from high school, think about when they don't immediately get all the minutes and shots they want.
Thornton had his first bad game as a Wizard, scoring just two points on 1 of 4 shooting. He was scoreless in the first half. Thornton said afterward that he wasn't aggressive, which has been his calling card - even in Los Angeles, where often was a bit too aggressive on the offensive end. He just didn't appear to have his usual burst. "It was one of those nights," Thornton said.
Andray Blatche and Randy Foye scored 18 points each for the Wizards, but Milwaukee got contributions from all over. Carlos Delfino had 13 points and 11 rebounds, Ersan Ilyasova had 19 points, 10 rebounds and six assists and veteran Jerry Stackhouse added 13 points. The last time these two teams met here, Washington won 109-97 on Dec. 23. Caron Butler scored 25, Antawn Jamison 23 and Gilbert Arenas 18 for the Wizards that night.
"Turk-ish Thun-der" was the chant that came roaring from Squad Six with five and a half minutes to go in the game, this time with more purpose than usual. Ersan Ilyasova, who the rowdy group has taken to calling "Turkish Thunder" really brought some thunder on a transition dunk that fell just out of the reach of shot-blocking machine JaVale McGee. This was just one of many fine moments for Ilyasova in this one though, he finished with 19 points (7-13 FG 1-3 3 FG), 10 rebounds and a career high six assists.