The Wizards are back home after a five game road swing that saw them post a 1-4 record, and will play the Heat, who lost last night to the Cavaliers. Andray Blatche is expected to return to the lineup.
“I’m going to come out and help my teammates. We’ve got a lot of guys that are injured, and I’m one of the healthiest ones right now, so I can pretty much come out and make an impact in the game,” Blatche said.
Blatche has missed the past 11 games with a shoulder injury and was not with the team during the west coast road trip.
“I had a chance to work out, get my shoulder back right and also get some jump shots up so I could be prepared and ready when they [his teammates] got back. I worked on my conditioning, so when I get out there I don’t get winded or get sloppy and not be able to help my teammates.”
“My shot’s been getting better,” said Blatche, who kept track of the Wizards’ road games while continuing his rehab here at home.
“The Clipper game was tough. We missed some free throws, some inbounds plays. Against Utah, we battled, we almost gave it back, but we stuck together and got the win. I’m real proud of the young guys who stepped up and came out and got that win,” Blatche said.
As for tonight’s game against the Heat, “we have to come out and hop on them like Cleveland did; just be aggressive and put it all on the table,” Blatche said.
The Heat (51-23) lost to the Cavaliers (15-58) in Cleveland, prompting Wizards coach Flip Saunders to speculate if it was good or bad to catch Miami on a back to back after a loss.
“They’re really fighting for something. They’re trying to catch if they can the number two, number one seed, so every game to them is extremely important down the stretch, so they’re going to come out extremely motivated, especially after a loss,” Saunders said.
Although Blatche is slated to return, Trevor Booker is out and could miss the rest of the season with a foot injury. Young is also doubtful for tonight. Josh Howard and Rashard Lewis remain out.
“We’re going to have to make shots against them [the Heat] and get the ball up and down the floor. You can’t just turn into a half court game or their three-headed monster just destroys you,” Saunders said.
“But at least our players know they’re not invincible – Cleveland beat them last night.”
The Heat and Wizards tipoff at Verizon Center tonight at 7.