Wizards bench provides little support
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."
| February 23, 2011; 1:15 AM ET
Categories: Flip Saunders, John Wall, Josh Howard, Kevin Seraphin, Kirk Hinrich
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