- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 27, 2009

SEEN AND HEARD AT VERIZON CENTER

Signs in the hallways outside both the Wizards and visitors locker rooms, and additional postings inside both locker rooms had a special message that chapel was available at 6 p.m. - as it is before every game. But the final line was “Guest Pastor: Mike James.”

Yes, that Mike James, starting point guard of the Washington Wizards. The team chaplain, Pastor John Jenkins, was unable to make it to Monday night’s game, so James was asked to fill in. And he was happy to oblige.

“You should come,” he said of the service. “I just might change your life.”

James, who majored in psychology at Duquesne, plans to start a Christian bible school after his playing days are done. He also works with troubled youth in Houston, where he lives in the offseason.

Just before 6 p.m., James started rounding up teammates to join him for the service. Members of the media were not permitted to attend. …

The Wizards played their first home game in nine days, having spent last week on a four-game West Coast trip that featured stops in Oakland, Sacramento, Los Angeles and Portland. The Wizards will hit the road again Wednesday when they travel to Miami, but it was good for them to get back to Verizon Center - if even for one night.

“Seemed like we were away forever. How many hotels, how many bus rides, how many flights? A four-game, seven-day road trip is long for anybody,” interim coach Ed Tapscott said. “We were hoping to come home 2-2. Didn’t quite get that, but you get a win on a West Coast trip, so we have to look at that as some success.”

Tapscott took some time to reflect on the changes that occurred while the Wizards were traveling.

“President has changed, weather pattern has changed. While we were away, we went from global warming to now, global freezing. A lot of apocalyptic things have gone on since we left,” Tapscott said before being asked if the Wizards were using their usual starting lineup.

“Yes, same starting lineup. Nothing apocalyptic there.”

- Mike Jones

QUOTABLE

“Yeah, well when he gets the ball in the paint, he’s shooting about 96 percent, so I’d much rather deal with the 62 percent.”

- Wizards interim coach Ed Tapscott on his preference to put Suns center Shaquille O’Neal on the foul line, even though he is shooting a career-high 62.2 percent there this season

Story Continues →