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Posted at 12:26 AM ET, 03/ 6/2011

Trevor Booker hurdles Kevin Love, helps Wizards snap seven-game losing streak

By Michael Lee

You better box me out. (By Rob Carr/Getty Images)


After he finished his post-game press conference, Coach Flip Saunders shook hands with WPGC radio personality and Wizards DJ Big Tigger, who congratulated him on the win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Saunders then congratulated Tigger for pulling off a successful dunk off the trampoline in the second half.

"The only guy who got as high as you did tonight was Book," Saunders said, and Tigger shook his head and laughed.

Trevor Booker certainly got up high during a critical stretch in the fourth quarter, when he turned a one-point deficit into a five-point lead with three consecutive dunks that turned around the game. The last two were exciting rebound putback jams that energized the building and left Timberwolves rebounding machine Kevin Love dumbfounded.

Love has become an effective rebounder through timing, positioning, aggression and anticipation, since he lacks much athleticism. Love grabbed 21 rebounds, but Booker made sure he didn't get 23 when he showed that speed and superior leaping ability could be an advantage. The first dunk came when climbed over Love to slam down a Cartier Martin miss. The next came when Love reached out for a John Wall miss and Booker jumped in front of him.

"You see the mascots jumping off the trampoline, that's what it felt like he was doing in there. He's an athletic freak," Love said of Booker. "I got off at that 10th floor, he got off at the 12th. That was the deal."

Saunders thought about starting Booker at small forward on Saturday when he realized that Josh Howard wasn't going to be able to play with a pulled left hamstring. But there was some doubt about Booker's availability when he arrived at Verizon Center battling a stomach virus. Booker played about two minutes and looked lethargic in the first half before he had to leave for the locker room.

"I've been sick for a couple of days but not this sick right here," Booker said. "It was real tough. I didn't know if I was going to make it or not. Just playing most of the minutes in the fourth quarter. It was hurting. I was hurting, but I just fought through it."


You can't jump over me all the time, Trevor. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Booker said he took three different medicines, two before the game and one at halftime in order to contribute. "We didn't know if we were even going to be able to play him," Saunders said of Booker. "It got to the point that we just needed some energy, maybe we could put him in and get a couple of minutes. He started going and I was afraid of taking him out because I didn't know if we'd be able to get him back."

With Rashard Lewis still struggling to find his rhythm offensively, as he continues to battle right knee tendinitis, the Wizards needed some production from the bench and Booker and Maurice Evans helped push the Wizards through the finish. Booker had the six biggest points of the game, and Evans had 11 in the fourth quarter, connecting on three three-pointers.

In his previous six games, Lewis averaged just four points and shot 30.7 percent (8-of-26) from the floor. He suggested on Thursday that he might have to have season-ending surgery to repair some discomfort in his right knee that has plagued him since before he arrived from Orlando in the Gilbert Arenas trade. Saunders hoped that having Lewis start would help him regain his rhythm, but Lewis again struggled. He scored 10 points, but missed 8 of 11 field goal attempts.

"Still bothered me, but I'm not ready to quit on the team yet. Keep pushing until it's time," Lewis said.

Lewis said he likely wouldn't be available on Sunday against Detroit. "It's very tough playing on back-to-backs. It's very tough playing, period. I'm just not ready to quit on them yet. It's a lot of young guys on this team. My presence will help a little bit, I think."
He added that no final decision has been regarding surgery. "Still evaluating it. haven't made no decision yet. Just going to evaluate it a little further and have another opinion on it, but it's day-to-day," Lewis said. "It's been tough all season long, especially since I've been here. It's very tough when you're not able to perform at a high level. Doing the little things out there, trying to defend and be a presence out there on the floor, spread the floor, help."

If Lewis is unable to go, the Wizards will likely have to lean more on Booker, whom Saunders praised afterward for his improved play in recent weeks. Booker nearly helped the Wizards pull off a comeback win over Golden State on Wednesday. "Book is playing at another level," he said. "He's playing how we thought he'd play for us. But you don't expect a rookie to get there, especially against veterans."

Love may have had more than four times the rebounds as Booker, who had five, but Booker had the biggest boards of the night. I'm still impressed by Love's ability to inhale rebounds despite his limitations. He gets a lot of his rebounds by slapping at his own misses, which is straight out of the Moses Malone book.

He has 50 straight games with at least 10 points and 10 rebounds, which ties him with Malone for the NBA record for most double-doubles since the merger. Former Washington Bullet Elvin Hayes had 55 straight double-doubles. But after his 11th game with at least 20 points and 20 rebounds, Michael Beasley said, "Yeah, it's kind of normal now. Tell me 40-40 and I'll get excited."

By Michael Lee  | March 6, 2011; 12:26 AM ET
Categories:  Rashard Lewis, Trevor Booker  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Open thread: Wizards (15-45) vs. Timberwolves (15-48)
Next: Flip Saunders on Detroit tumult: "It's unfortunate"

Comments

You gotta love Love's game and respect what he said about my MAiNE BOOKKKKKKKEEEEEERRRRRR!!!!!

Posted by: bbachrac | March 6, 2011 5:22 AM | Report abuse

BOOK's the man. Let's get the match for him in this draft.....only at center. We'll have to pick a three if the cupboard's bare at five when it's our time.

Posted by: glawrence007 | March 6, 2011 7:53 AM | Report abuse

OMG! "Book" prevented Love from getting his 23rd rebound, so Love only got 21!!! Imagine that!

Maybe people should start cheering when someone on the team starts averaging almost 16 boards/game instead of someone on the team stopping someone from getting 23 rebounds. Sheesh....

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | March 6, 2011 9:12 AM | Report abuse

"He gets a lot of his rebounds by slapping at his own misses, which is straight out of the Moses Malone book."

Yes it is. Does inflate rebound totals a bit, but mostly Love just outworks his opponents. Actually, that's a lot what the more athletic Griffin has been doing, too. Two guys who seem to be in unusually good condition.

When they drafted Booker, Grunfeld claimed it was to bring additional toughness to the roster. Looks like he was right.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 6, 2011 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Booker was a serious shot of adrenaline. And let's not overlook the contributions of Maurice Evans timely 3-point shooting.

I'm very happy for the win. Still, there's something wrong when John Wall leads the team in rebounding. Blatche had a few defensive lapses, but I'm not gonna pick on him because he had a solid game statistically. He even played with a bloody nose. McGee held his own against Pekovic. OK, I'll say it again: the point guard shouldn't lead the team in rebounds.

Posted by: musicmanjr | March 6, 2011 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Love's was one of the least impressive 20/20 games I've ever seen. Where's the D? Dray look like a baller last night, because K Love can't play D. Minnesota will need to find a near all-star level, defensive-minded C to get wins. After last night's game I'm even less interested in drafting Sullinger with a top 5 pick.

Posted by: djnnnou | March 6, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

There were some good players available in the draft between 20-30 last year. The one I liked at 30 (where we were originally to pick) was Quincy Pondexter. He went 26th to NO and has spent the season on the bench. Lazar Hayward of Minn went at 30 and has also warmed a spot on the bench this year. Other guys we might have taken besides Booker: Damion James of Texas, Dominique Jones (SG who the Wiz worked out), C Daniel Orton of KY, Grievis Vasquez... all pretty good prospects, although I don't know if I would have taken any of them ahead of Booker.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 6, 2011 12:15 PM | Report abuse

"Love's was one of the least impressive 20/20 games I've ever seen. Where's the D? Dray look like a baller last night, because K Love can't play D. Minnesota will need to find a near all-star level, defensive-minded C to get wins. After last night's game I'm even less interested in drafting Sullinger with a top 5 pick.

Posted by: djnnnou | March 6, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse "

It's funny how homers here are quick to downplay an opponent's stats, but when it was MeTawn, with his 20-10 even though the team sucked, people conveniently forgot that latter part of the fact.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | March 6, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Or, even better...how about when Gilby was here and people were going gaga over his high scoring average despite the facts that he averaged over 20 shots/game, took a ton of 3's, had a low shooting average, and the team still sucked. Ahhh, details....

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | March 6, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

DC_CATLADY called me a homer. That really hurts :(

Posted by: djnnnou | March 6, 2011 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Or, even better...how about when Gilby was here and people were going gaga over his high scoring average despite the facts that he averaged over 20 shots/game, took a ton of 3's, had a low shooting average, and the team still sucked. Ahhh, details....

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | March 6, 2011 12:31 PM
When "gilby" was scoring all those points we were winning..playoffs..number 1 team in the east pre injury. Love's high numbers have gotten his team 15 wins.

Posted by: Wizbullets88 | March 6, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Ive also been saying the Dray at 5, Book at 4 thing. Even if you dont start it, why dont we see it more? It never makes any sense to me. They take McGee out & bring Seraphin in when I thought Book & Dray were the perfect matchup for teams like the Warriors and someone else we recently played. I just dont get Flip's & Randy's rotations. Thats why they have to go. Dont get me wrong, you have to play Seraphin too as he's playing well but lets see more of the Dray-Book combo

Posted by: dlts2041 | March 6, 2011 1:40 PM | Report abuse

"I just dont get Flip's & Randy's rotations. Thats why they have to go.Posted by: dlts2041"

They 'have to go' because you don't get something?

Posted by: Samson151 | March 6, 2011 1:50 PM | Report abuse

When "gilby" was scoring all those points we were winning..playoffs..number 1 team in the east pre injury. Love's high numbers have gotten his team 15 wins.Posted by: Wizbullets88"

There was that difference -- but the thing I notice is how little impact outstanding rookies like Wall and Griffin and second-year stars like Kevin Love are having on their team's won-loss records. In the Wiz' case that's probably because of all the turnover in the roster -- it's just not a very good team. Harder to explain with the Clips and Minnesota, which started the season as stronger teams. I thought Sacto would have been much better but the decline in Evans' performance and the struggles of Cousins to adapt help to explain why they haven't.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 6, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Is the record for consecutive double-doubles 50 (by MMalone, Love) or 55 (Elvin Hayes)? You kinda say both, Mike Lee.

Oh, and DC_Dork88, you are really reaching now. Nobody was getting excited about the fact that Love got two fewer rebounds. Just stop it.

Posted by: Urnesto | March 6, 2011 2:30 PM | Report abuse

"When "gilby" was scoring all those points we were winning..playoffs..number 1 team in the east pre injury. Love's high numbers have gotten his team 15 wins.

Posted by: Wizbullets88 | March 6, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse "

What was being won again? Oh, yeah...nothing.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | March 6, 2011 4:43 PM | Report abuse

"DC_CATLADY called me a homer. That really hurts :(

Posted by: djnnnou | March 6, 2011 12:40 PM | Report abuse "

Nah, I called you a hypocrite...pussboy.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | March 6, 2011 4:44 PM | Report abuse

"Oh, and DC_Dork88, you are really reaching now. Nobody was getting excited about the fact that Love got two fewer rebounds. Just stop it.

Posted by: Urnesto | March 6, 2011 2:30 PM | Report abuse "

Sure....reread Mike's column above.

Love has become an effective rebounder through timing, positioning, aggression and anticipation, since he lacks much athleticism. Love grabbed 21 rebounds, but Booker made sure he didn't get 23 when he showed that speed and superior leaping ability could be an advantage.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | March 6, 2011 4:46 PM | Report abuse

"There was that difference -- but the thing I notice is how little impact outstanding rookies like Wall and Griffin and second-year stars like Kevin Love are having on their team's won-loss records. In the Wiz' case that's probably because of all the turnover in the roster -- it's just not a very good team. Harder to explain with the Clips and Minnesota, which started the season as stronger teams. I thought Sacto would have been much better but the decline in Evans' performance and the struggles of Cousins to adapt help to explain why they haven't.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 6, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse "

What's hard to understand is why Grunfeld and Flop are still employed by Les BouleS. What's not hard to understand is that since Gilby's arrival in Orlando, he's had little, if any, impact.

Gilby's Last 10 Games

GP 18
MPG 18.7
FG% .300
RPG 1.6
APG 3.1
BLKPG 0.1
STPG 0.6
PFPG 1.9
PPG 6.8

Salary: ~$18mil

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | March 6, 2011 4:52 PM | Report abuse

dits2041-Dray @ 5. He's a joke at 4. Doing better, but only because of the flak he has taken. And he still is not being all he can be. Love got those rebounds on McGee and Dray, our 4 & 5. We have the cap space, John Wall, some good young players and two # 1's and his buddy Lewis, perhaps Grunfeld is going after Dwight Howard since this is his contract year. Thats a lot of young pieces to give him a contender every year. If Dray were to become a man it would be an outstanding roster. Crawford could develop and Young may still be here.

Posted by: 1bmffwb | March 6, 2011 9:32 PM | Report abuse

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