The Wizards fell to a league-worst 9-35, but when asked about what he thought his chances were of making the All-Star game as a reserve, which are determined by the league’s coaches’ votes on Tuesday and will be announced on Thursday, Caron Butler made his pitch.
“I know it’s only a couple of guys from an individual standpoint that have done what I’ve done,” said Butler, who this season is averaging 20.0 points, 6.1 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.7 steals a game. “I know that team winning percentage is important. But if you’re going to reward an individual, I should be on that team. If you’re going to reward from a team standpoint, i’ll fall back and watch it on television from Disney World or something. I know I’m an All-Star. I did it back-to-back. Hopefully it happens again. If not, take it on the chin and watch out next year.”
Yes, the Wizards’ record stinks, but Caron definitely has a point. His numbers are hard to deny.
Wizards guard DeShawn Stevenson remained sidelined although the pain in his back and legs, which is caused by a pinched nerve in his back, is better. Stevenson has taken shots during the team’s warmup sessions before the last four games, but said coaches want him to run through two practices before playing so he can get his conditioning and timing back. With the Wizards practicing Tuesday and Thursday this week, Stevenson has a good chance of returning to action either Friday at Philadelphia, or Saturday at home against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Injured center Etan Thomas was in attendance last night for the first time since tearing his left MCL on Jan. 12, and walked with a noticeable limp and kept his left knee extended while watching the game from the end of the Wizards’ bench. Thomas likely is out for the season, although the team has released no official word on an upcoming surgery. Thomas, according to the team, has been resting his knee the last two weeks and will be re-evaluated on Tuesday.
With Thomas out, the Wizards had just two healthy centers on the roster but they suffered a scare when Andray Blatche went down after banging knees with Shaq with 4:11 left in the fourth quarter. Blatche had a big bruise on the inside of his knee and thigh, but said he’ll be practicing tomorrow and playing Wednesday in Miami. We’ll see. He’s likely to wake up feeling much worse in the morning.
A light moment of the game, with 21.8 seconds left in the first quarter and the Wizards up 24-22, Butler drove baseline, but was swallowed up in the arms of O’Neal, who also managed to get both hands on the ball. The whistle was blown and O’Neal kept Butler in his bear hug grasp for a moment and kissed the Wizard on the head. The two chuckled while lining up for a jump ball. Butler narrowly missed out-jumping his mammoth counterpart, but O’Neal tipped the ball backwards, and Jamison came down with it.