Wizards' youth move fails to school Knicks

Blake's attempt in OT falls short in 102-98 loss

Pro Basketball

April 11, 2004|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,SUN STAFF

WASHINGTON - Long past the point where the outcome of any game mattered, Washington Wizards coach Eddie Jordan decided to take a look at the kids last night against the New York Knicks in crunch time.

Jordan sat starting guards Gilbert Arenas and Larry Hughes in the fourth quarter in favor of the former Maryland backcourt of Juan Dixon and Steve Blake, and though the Wizards dropped a 102-98 overtime decision, Jordan got a glimpse at what his kids can do.

The Wizards' coach had opportunities to bring Hughes and Arenas in for a fourth-quarter push, but rolled the dice on Blake and Dixon.

"I just felt they [Dixon and Blake] had the rhythm of the game under them, that Larry looked fatigued when I took him out and that Gilbert was fatigued," Jordan said. "Maybe they sat there a little too long to come back in and get the rhythm of the game. I liked the way Stevie was going. I know my team, I know my personnel and I thought coming off cold in that situation would be tough for us."

Blake, who had 10 points, including a pair of three-pointers, missed a three-point attempt with 8.9 seconds left in overtime that would have given Washington (25-55) a third straight win over an Atlantic Division team after a 1-19 start against division opponents.

The shot, which came with Washington trailing by two, went halfway down the cylinder and popped out. The Knicks (38-42), who clinched no worse than seventh place in the Eastern Conference, were fouled and converted the free throws to seal the win.

"I definitely thought it was in," Blake said. "I just wanted to make a big shot. That's all. I wanted to make it and try to end the game right there, but it didn't go down, and unfortunately, we didn't get the win. He [Jordan] didn't necessarily say go for the win, but he just wanted us to make a play, if it was shooting a three or going to the basket, and he had some guys out there that could make deep shots. I'm glad he had the faith in me to go for the shot."

Jordan could hardly find fault with the Wizards' start as they burst out of the gate with the first nine points of the game, while the Knicks missed their first five shots on the way to a 12-point lead two-thirds of the way through the first quarter.

The Wizards, off a buzzer-beating win the night before in Philadelphia, played with spirit and intensity throughout, even with Kwame Brown and Jerry Stackhouse out of the lineup with foot injuries.

In Stackhouse's place, rookie Jarvis Hayes had a career-high 23 points, while Etan Thomas had 17 points and eight rebounds off the bench.

Near the end of the first period, Dikembe Mutombo blocked Blake's shot in the lane and did his trademark finger-wave to indicate that such a shot wouldn't be tolerated.


New YorkMinM-AM-AO-TAPfPts













Percentages: FG .430, FT .893. 3-Point Goals: 3-13, .231 (Johnson 2-3, T.Thomas 1-3, F.Williams 0-1, Anderson 0-2, Norris 0-2, Marbury 0-2). Team Rebounds: 6. Team Turnovers: 15 (19 PTS). Blocked Shots: 6 (Mutombo 4, Anderson, Sweetney). Turnovers: 15 (Johnson 4, F.Williams 3, Mohammed 2, Baker 2, K.Thomas, Anderson, Norris, T.Thomas). Steals: 11 (Johnson 3, T.Thomas 3, Anderson 2, Sweetney, Mutombo, Norris). Technical Fouls: None. FGFTReb













Percentages: FG .434, FT .643. 3-Point Goals: 8-23, .348 (Hayes 2-4, Blake 2-6, Butler 1-1, Hughes 1-3, Dixon 1-4, Arenas 1-5). Team Rebounds: 12. Team Turnovers: 20 (22 PTS). Blocked Shots: 3 (Baxter 2, E.Thomas). Turnovers: 18 (Arenas 4, E.Thomas 3, Jeffries 3, Dixon 2, Hughes 2, Blake 2, Haywood, Butler). Steals: 9 (Dixon 2, Arenas 2, Hayes 2, Hughes, Blake, Butler). Technical Fouls: E.Thomas, 11:44 second.

New York 19 24 23 21 15 - 102

Washington 25 22 19 21 11 - 98

A-17,524 (20,674). T-2:26.Officials-Joe Forte, Tony Brothers, Marc Davis.

Next for Wizards

Opponent: Detroit Pistons

Site: The Palace of Auburn Hills (Mich.)

When: 7:30 p.m. tomorrow

TV/Radio: Comcast SportsNet/WTEM (980 AM)

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