The Wizards got off to a strong post-all-star break start, rallying from a six-point fourth-quarter deficit with a 16-5 charge four minutes of play to pull off the victory.
Key for the Wizards was their ability to get stops on the defensive end and push the ball up the court and execute before the Timberwolves had a chance to settle into their defense. That’s why Mike James was so open on those two big 3-pointers in the final 1:25 of play.
Javaris Crittenton continues to blossom for the Wizards and recorded 11 points and four assists, but his impact goes beyond what shows up in the box score because often he’s pushing the ball up the floor and making the pass that leads to assists. Being in the game down the stretch is proof that he’s earning the trust of Ed Tapscott.
“That was a big win for us, coming out of the break and starting out the season off the break with a win. We came out in the fourth quarter and we fought,” Crittenton said. “It’s like a new beginning for us. I think we started off the right way.”
Crittenton combined with JaVale McGee for one of the highlights of the night. Early in the second quarter, Minnesota’s Randy Foye drove to the basket for a layup, but Crittenton swatted at the ball, forcing him to redirect his shot and miss. Crittenton grabbed the long rebound and with the Timberwolves’ Rodney Carney closing in, went behind the back and did a spin move at the same time to avoid the collision just before midcourt. He then raced up the court and throw a baseline lob to McGee, who cashed in with a two-handed jam that put Washington up 31-17 with 10:46 left in the second quarter.
Andray Blatche made a solid return from a nine-game injury-induced absence with 14 points and seven rebounds.
“I was pretty good, huh?” Blatche said with a laugh. “I surprised myself. I was pretty good after three weeks of doing nothing, I surprised myself. No, they had me on the bike doing some thing, but I didn’t expect to feel that good.”
Caron Butler left the game late in the fourth quarter after landing awkwardly on his left hip. “I just felt my allignment is off right now. We’ll get it looked at tomorrow. Hopefully I feel better tomorrow. If not, we’ve got another two days to rest it and hopefully it’ll be OK.”
Someone asked Tapscott about the Jamison trade rumors and he had this to say:
“Names will always come up in trades and you can’t always control of what names are brought up. But let me ask you something, if you’re one of the other 29 teams, and you’re calling the Wizards, who would you ask about? You’d ask about Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler. So, we can’t be in charge of who people ask for. All we can be in charge of is saying yes or no, and as far as I know, the answer is no. The plan is to get our health and when we get all of those guys back, Antawn Jamison will be an intricate part of that core.”