Wizards could be shorthanded against the Los Angeles Lakers
The Wizards were without their leading scorer, second-leading scorer and third-leading scorer, as John Wall, Gilbert Arenas and Andray Blatche all missed practice on Monday because of various ailments.
Blatche's appears to be the most severe, with Coach Flip Saunders saying that the 6-11 forward is "probably out" against the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers with a swollen left knee. Wall has developed some soreness in his right knee, which Saunders said is probably the result of overcompensation from his left foot injury, and is "very questionable." Arenas is probable, with what the team is calling "general soreness."
Saunders was told that this probably isn't the ideal situation to prepare for the Lakers. "You think?" Saunders said. "I guess that's been more the norm this season than it's been abnormal. You go with what you have. It gives guys opportunities to step up and show what they have, show what they can do."
Blatche missed the Wizards' 115-108 loss to the Lakers last week after suffering a bruised right hip in Phoenix. He also sat against Sacramento, but returned to score 14 points in 40 minutes on Friday against the New York Knicks. He developed some swelling in his left knee the next day and has missed the past two practices.
"Dray is really our only low-block threat, teams have a tendency to put pressure on their perimeters and take away some opportunities," Saunders said. "Makes it a little more difficult to function. We're going to have to play differently, control tempo more and just try to do things, maybe not play as fast a pace as we'd like to."
Nick Young scored 30 points in the last meeting against the Lakers, but Saunders said the team may also have to rely more on Al Thornton, Trevor Booker and Kevin Seraphin. Booker and Seraphin were instrumental in helping the Wizards cut a 19-point deficit down to three in the second half. "It's going to have to be a combination of the whole team. We're going to have to play a lot of people, to keep fresh and play with a great amount of energy," Saunders said. "We came back in LA because we played hard. We're at a point now, with our talent level because of the injuries, that we're going to have to play harder than other people, that's going to be the only way that we can hang with people. At home, our crowd will be with us and that extra adrenaline with help us."
Thornton said the team would have to play unselfishly in order to defeat the Lakers. After spending his first 2 ½ seasons with the Clippers, Thornton always appreciated how the Lakers approached the game. "Got to respect them, they the champs and they always bring it," Thornton said. "The Lakers are going to go on their runs, the thing is, how are we going to respond to their runs? We get down, it's been times this year, we get down and I hate to say this, we pretty much just quit. I think we got scorers on this team that get the job done. But we've got to play unselfish, that's the key and you've got to make shots against the Lakers."
Thornton declined to comment specifically on the Yahoo! Sports article in which Clippers owner Don Sterling has allegedly been heckling point guard Baron Davis. Thornton had a rocky history with Sterling, with the controversial owner confronting Thornton in the locker room and calling him a selfish player. "It was an incident. I'm going to leave that in the past," Thornton said. "We had words with each other, but that's in the past. We didn't agree on something and that's that."
| December 13, 2010; 2:08 PM ET
Categories: Al Thornton, Andray Blatche, Flip Saunders, Gilbert Arenas, John Wall
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