- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 2, 2004

The Washington Wizards had no intentions of giving Kwame Brown big minutes last night in his season debut, and that is exactly how it worked out against the lowly New Jersey Nets.

In fact, Brown didn’t even make it to the end of the game. He and the Nets’ Jason Collins drew technical fouls and were ejected by referee Sean Corbin in the fourth quarter as the Wizards finished with their largest margin of victory this season in a 95-68 win before 15,805 at MCI Center.

“Jason Collins is one of those guys who likes to grab and hold,” said Brown, who played 14 minutes and scored six points. “I think the refs overreacted, but it’s all a part of the game. You can’t get pounded. If a guy is giving it to you, you have to give it back to him.”

The Wizards (8-5) have held an opponent to fewer points only twice in franchise history. Toronto scored 60 on Nov.7, 2003, and Miami had 65 on Nov.16, 2002. It was Washington’s largest margin of victory since it defeated Milwaukee 107-75 on March 20, 2002.

For Brown, it was a chance to get back on the court for the first time since he broke his right foot in August during a pickup game.

“It felt good to be out there,” said Brown, who was greeted with a nice ovation when he entered with 2:51 left in the first quarter. “I appreciate the fans, and I appreciate their patience. Now it’s on me. I have to get my energy up. The good thing is that there is no pressure. I’m here to help because these guys were getting it done without me. I just have to go out there and focus on playing hard.

Last night also saw the return of coach Eddie Jordan, who missed two games while hospitalized with a blood clot in his left leg.

“I felt pretty good,” Jordan said. “I still have a pulling in my left leg, but that’s to be expected. I feel good, and I’m happy with the results tonight. I think we have a lot of things we have to work on. But it’s a good sign that we’re playing the way we are.”

The Nets (3-12), still minus Jason Kidd, looked nothing like the contenders they had been the past few years. New Jersey set a franchise record with just 20 field goals, and the Nets’ seven assists tied a franchise low. Eric Williams led them in scoring with 17 points.

“That is not the type of performance we expect from ourselves,” said coach Lawrence Frank, whose team lost for the 10th time in 11 games.

The Wizards rolled to their fifth victory in six games behind a season-high 30 points from Gilbert Arenas. The point guard, who had scored 27 points twice this season, was 8-for-17 from the floor, grabbed seven rebounds and handed out five assists. Team scoring leader Antawn Jamison finished with 18 points and nine rebounds.

However, the Wizards’ most impressive performance might have come from Larry Hughes, who shut down New Jersey’s leading scorer, Richard Jefferson. Jefferson was 0-for-6 from the floor, finishing with seven points and one assist in 34 minutes.

Hughes finished with 15 points and nine assists.

“The last time we played them, we defended Richard with Gilbert,” Jordan said. “But Larry has been playing so well lately, we decided to let Larry guard him. He did a nice job.”

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