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Posted at 1:15 AM ET, 02/23/2011

Wizards bench provides little support

By Gene Wang

Shortly before tip-off of tonight's game against Indiana, Wizards Coach Flip Saunders talked about using more of his reserves in light of the all-star break layoff. The thought was that the nearly five days of inactivity would cause players to tire quicker in their first game back, thus impelling significant contributions from many.

The Wizards never came close to that while their opponent got double-figure scoring from a pair of backups and a combined 20 points from its five other reserves. No surprise Washington lost again, 113-96..

"That's how they've been," Wizards Coach Flip Saunders said of the Pacers. "Their bench has been phenomenal for them lately. They've got high energy guys."

Leading the way was Tyler Hansbrough, who topped the reserves with 17 points in 22 minutes. He was 9 for 10 from the free throw line and added five rebounds. Paul George had 11 points and nine rebounds in 25-plus minutes.

The Wizards, meantime, got a combined 25 points from five bench players. Center Kevin Seraphin and forward Al Thornton each had seven points, the most among Washington's backups.

Thornton is managing a dislocated finger on his right hand, and Saunders said he had hoped to get by without his services. But Thornton wound up playing 11 minutes 38 seconds, all in the second half when the outcome was all but determined.

Saunders said he went to Thornton in an effort to get Josh Howard additional rest. Howard played in his third straight game after missing 19 in a row with tendintis in his left knee, and he served as the backup point guard with Kirk Hinrich out with a bruised right calf and Mustafa Shakur's second 10-day contract just expired.

The lack of support from the reserves is especially disquieting not only because several top players, including forward Rashard Lewis (right knee tendintis), are nursing ailments but also considering Washington's rugged schedule the rest of the week.The Wizards play tomorrow night at Philadelphia, get one day off and then play at Miami and at home the following night against Dallas.

"We just got into a situation where John [Wall] had five fouls, and Josh I didn't want to put him in a situation with his knee because he's our backup point right now going into tomorrow" against Philadelphia, Saunders said. "We can't all of sudden be in a situation where we don't have him, so I thought [Thornton] could play a few minutes, so we'll see."

By Gene Wang  | February 23, 2011; 1:15 AM ET
Categories:  Flip Saunders, John Wall, Josh Howard, Kevin Seraphin, Kirk Hinrich  
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Next: Another lopsided loss raises questions of accountability

Comments

So Shakur was given a second 10 day contract that expired.
Which I assumed meant his ankle was healed.
But in spite of the facts that Hinrich was hurt and is not part of a long term solution and Howard is returning from a serious knee and is not a point guard, Ernie thought it wise to not sign him for the remainder of the season.

Posted by: bozomoeman | February 23, 2011 3:27 AM | Report abuse

We shouldn't be surprised at the WIZARDS failure in the stretch. This is a team with little or raw talent, and losing several to injury can't be overcome by our fill-ins.

What of SHAKUR? Are they not going to sign him for the rest of the season? They only have to pay the pro-rated game minimum right? He looked good enough to me, and we need a back-up pg. This is crazy.

Posted by: glawrence007 | February 23, 2011 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Unless they are about to sign some point guard before Thursday or deal Hinrich for one, it makes no since not to sign Shakur.

Also, who in the NBA, as in what team will give up a number one pick for Kirk Hinrich. Are these guys for real?

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | February 23, 2011 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Kirk Hinrich making $9m as a roll player and a backup one at that is worth someone's number one pick.

Please. What is Ernie thinking?

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | February 23, 2011 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Wouldn't mind dealing kirk to the hawks for Marvin Williams. Apparently he's on the block. That would give us more depth at SF. Don't want Bibby though. I'd take Kirk over Bibby right now.

Posted by: Wizbullets88 | February 23, 2011 8:12 AM | Report abuse

David Aldridge at NBA.com indicates that the Wizards want a 1st round pick and a young player for Hinrich. The Hawks want to trade Mike Bibby. 33 years of age is OLD for a point guard. Other than salary considerations, what's the benefit for the Wiz?

Now, if Marvin Williams AND the 1st round pick are offered for Kirk, we have to make that trade.

Posted by: musicmanjr | February 23, 2011 9:11 AM | Report abuse

"Also, who in the NBA, as in what team will give up a number one pick for Kirk Hinrich. Are these guys for real?LarryInClintonMD.
Posted by: LarryInClintonMD"

It's a market-driven league. There may be GMs out there who like Kirk better than you do. Or place less value on a first round pick because they lack room to sign or pay one.

According to rumors, the Lakers like Hinrich. So apparently do Atlanta and (less reliably) Boston and New Orleans. If a trade is made, you can e-mail their GM and tell him what an idiot he is.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 23, 2011 9:39 AM | Report abuse

"But in spite of the facts that Hinrich was hurt and is not part of a long term solution and Howard is returning from a serious knee and is not a point guard, Ernie thought it wise to not sign him for the remainder of the season.Posted by: bozomoeman"

I'm not sure Hinrich is hurt. Shakur is a good guy and we want to see him rewarded, but he's likely not a part of the Wiz next season. He's already exceeded DCMAN's prediction by lasting more than a few days, and they may yet decide to re-sign him. He's improved his visibility among NBA GMs who are looking for a D-leaguer, and that's worth something.

Don't make too much of this end-of-the-bench stuff. Remember Alonzo Gee.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 23, 2011 9:42 AM | Report abuse

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