- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 16, 2001


The Washington Wizards, passionless nearly all season, played that way again yesterday afternoon. As usual they fell behind, missed shots other NBA teams normally make, then rallied at the end only to drop a 101-95 decision to the Milwaukee Bucks at MCI Center.

However, the passion was evident on the bench along with some venom, fire and brimstone, especially in the first quarter. An argument between Washington coach Leonard Hamilton and starting small forward Tyrone Nesby got so clamorous fans as far as 15 rows back could listen. Voices were raised, and curses were exchanged. And at one point security behind the bench had to be waived off from escorting out Nesby, who refused to leave the bench after Hamilton told him to.

Nesby finally cooled off five to 10 minutes after Hamilton pulled him and Felipe Lopez from the game. He was taken to the team's locker room by assistant coach Larry Drew. Nesby never returned to the game, and Lopez played just 14 minutes.

After the game, when the Wizards (7-32) said Nesby left the bench to have his thumb examined no update was provided on the status of the thumb the Wizards implied the flare-up had been handled.

"It was a little misunderstanding between me and the coach," said Nesby, who eventually returned to the bench. "It's settled now. We didn't see eye-to-eye on something, but it's done and over with now."

Nesby said that he didn't leave the bench at Hamilton's request because he had to "think about some things." However, he did say he and Hamilton went behind closed doors and hashed things out during halftime, when the Wizards trailed 51-43.

"We're both grown men," Nesby continued. "We're gonna leave it alone. It's cool."

Hamilton spoke of reconciliation.

"It's a misunderstanding that we put behind us," Hamilton said. "He's still in the lineup. He's still on the team. I don't always get along with my wife. If every time she told me how she feels about me and it became a crisis … That's the way it is when you're dealing with family or any organization. You move on. When you care about people and respect people, you deal with issues and you move on."

It might not be that simple. According to one player, Nesby yelled to Hamilton, "[Bleeping] trade me!" Hamilton, looking down the bench, fired back, "Go in the [bleeping] locker room."

It got so bad that players like Jahidi White and Michael Smith had to calm down the irate former Clipper.

Nesby indicated the constant losing was beginning to frustrate him. The team's seven-game losing streak is their second longest of the season.

"It's to a point where only so much is getting changed around here, and it's getting changed slowly, not as quickly as I want it to change," Nesby said. "But we're going to let it go tonight."

Yesterday just epitomized the frustration. The Wizards led for all of 19 seconds in the first quarter and never thereafter. They fell behind by 17 points in the third quarter, then rallied to trail 97-93 with 1:38 left in the game. However, they didn't score again until Juwan Howard, who led the Wizards with 27 points and eight rebounds, dunked with 5.6 seconds left.

Richard Hamilton was 14-for-14 from the free throw line and finished with 22 points, and Chris Whitney added 17 points despite shooting 4-for-15 from 3-point range. The Wizards made 31 of 33 free throws, and they shot just 39 percent (30 of 77) from the floor.

Glenn Robinson led five Bucks (22-15) in double-digits with 22 points. Ray Allen had 20, as did reserve Lindsey Hunter. Hunter made all but two of his eight 3-point shots, and the Bucks were 10-for-17 from behind the arc. The Bucks connected on 46.9 percent of their shots (30 of 77).

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