- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 27, 2003

Seen and heard last night at United Center in Chicago:

BACK TO THE BENCH — Rookie Steve Blake’s eight-game stint as a Wizards starter is about to end. Gilbert Arenas is expected to return sometime this week, perhaps as early as Tuesday. That will send Blake back to the bench.

Either way, Blake believes the opportunity to start made him a better player. “It helped me realize that I can play with these guys,” said Blake. “It makes me feel good and a lot more positive about my game.”

Blake said now that he has gotten a taste, he knows he wants to be a starter eventually.

“There really is no comparison,” Blake said. “I think it’s actually easier to start than it is to come off the bench. You get more into the groove when you start. You get more time because you’re out there from the start. For me it’s just like when I was in college. I’m used to starting. If I had my choice I’d rather start, no question.”

The former Maryland star had five assists and six points against the Bulls.

WHERE ARE MY BUDDIES? — That must have been what Kwame Brown was asking himself last night as he faced a Bulls team without Tyson Chandler and Eddy Curry.

Chandler (back) and Curry (knee) missed last night’s game. Brown is linked to Chandler and Curry because they were three of the first four NBA Draft picks in 2001. Brown went No. 1, Chandler second and Curry fourth. Brown, who is coming off the bench, said he gets up for games against the other two.

Brown had six points and eight rebounds.

John N. Mitchell

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