Nick the quick, the return of Tough Juice
The vets on the team love messing with Nick Young, who along with Dominic McGuire and Oleksiy Pecherov, is something of a little brother but all of them are aware of Young's talent.
During tonight's 105-97 win over the Bucks, it was on full display as the rookie scored a season-high 22 points on 9 of 15 shooting and got the crowd involved (imagine that) with a string of spectacular plays including in-your-face dunks over Andrew "Bling Bling" Bogut and Dan Gadzuric.
Young's best play came in the fourth quarter when he took a feed from Antawn Jamison and drove baseline where he found himself cut off but managed to reverse spin in the air and make a layup while drawing a foul on Gadzuric. He's had a few plays like that this season but man, that was nice. It also sparked a game-clinching 12-2 run that Roger Mason Jr. capped with a three-pointer.
"I was trying to do a reverse dunk but there were too many big men in there," Young said. "I tried to just get the ball in the hole, threw it up and it went in."
For those of us who have been around the team on a daily basis since camp, Young's talent as a dunker in no secret but, with the exception of a few plays here and there, that ability had not been on display in games (OK, the dunk over LeBron James was the best of the season). That has changed recently as Young is trying to dunk over everything in sight.
"It's just being more aggressive," Young said. "I'm tired of Brendan Haywood calling me a practice dunker and all of that. It was my way of trying to show them that I belong here. I can jump a little bit."
Antonio Daniels on Young: "He's a natural scorer, that's what he does. We kid with him all of the time. We joke with him all of the time because he has blinders because all he sees is the rim but that is one talented man. No question about it. He does a great job of creating his own shot. Good scorers in this league kind of make it look easy. They kind of make it look simple. We he makes a move and creates his own shot, it doesn't look difficult for him."
The Wizards were the more aggressive team all the way around tonight as evidenced by their season-high 66 points in the paint and 50 percent shooting which was mainly due to the fact that they attacked the basket rather than settle for jump shots all night.
The win moved the Wizards (31-32) 1 1/2 games up on seventh-place Philly and set up an interesting game Thursday night. The good news is that Caron Butler could be back in the lineup against LeBron and the Cavs. He went through shootaround and Coach Eddie Jordan said that if all goes well tomorrow in practice and in Thursday's shootaround, Tough Juice will be back.
The not-so-good news is that a bunch of other guys are banged up. Antawn Jamison (23 points and 8 rebounds tonight) has been playing on a sore back for several games and was getting treatment in the training room right after the game. He may not practice tomorrow.
Daniels caught his left thumb on a jersey in the fourth quarter and said it was sore after the game. Rookie Olekisy Pecherov did not suit up tonight due to a left mid-foot sprain. He's day-to-day. Gilbert Arenas did not practice Monday due to some soreness in his surgically repaired left knee and it will be interesting to see what he does in the coming days.
March 11, 2008; 11:47 PM ET
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