- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Before Tuesday’s game against the Detroit Pistons, Wizards coach Flip Saunders was asked what it would take for the team to get its first three-game winning streak since April 2008.

“Well, if we score more points than them, it will happen,” Saunders quipped.

“If we play with the energy that we’ve played with and the consistency we’ve had the last few games, we’re going to have a chance.”

Saunders ended up happy on both counts, as the Wizards won 107-105 for their third straight victory.

Energy has been Saunders‘ buzzword over the past week, and that energy resulted in the team winning three of its past four going into Tuesday night’s game, the first of back-to-back contests before heading to Indiana to face the Pacers on Wednesday.



“Right now, we have a high-energy team,” Saunders said. “When you play with other guys who bring a lot of energy, it forces you to play the same way.”

Saunders credits Othyus Jeffers with being a catalyst of much of that energy. Jeffers was playing in the D-League less than a month ago and has played well enough for the Wizards to sign him to two consecutive 10-day contracts. Jeffers is listed at 6-foot-5, but he is closer to 6-2 and has been described as a power forward with the height of a point guard.

But despite his height disadvantage, Jeffers displays strong skills as a rebounder.

“O really pursues the ball,” Saunders said. “He does a great job as far as competing. Here’s a guy that pays his dues. I love how hard he plays.”

Also bringing newfound energy since his return to the lineup after missing 10 games with a shoulder injury is Andray Blatche. Blatche has been a monster on the glass, pulling in 36 total rebounds in recent games against the Cleveland Cavaliers and Charlotte Bobcats.

“I think the energy he’s [Blatche] getting - he’s feeding off of what [Maurice] Evans is giving us, what O gives us, what Jordan [Crawford] gives us,” Saunders said.

Crawford also brings a lot of confidence along with his energy.

“I think I can make any shot I take,” he said. “That’s probably my strong point and my weak point. Sometimes that gets me in trouble, but I just play with a lot of confidence.”

And bringing a veteran presence along with his energy both off the bench and as a starter when needed is Maurice Evans, who is in his seventh season and is the team’s oldest player.

“It’s definitely a youthful team, and I think that over these last games we can definitely establish more of an identity than what having lost all these games says about us,” Evans said.

“There is a lot more character in this locker room and more heart in this locker room, and we want to build and get some momentum for next season.”

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