Wizards Pull off Upset Win in Houston
Carla Peay €" WI Sports Editor | 12/30/2008, 1:06 p.m.
The Washington Wizards are on a two game winning streak, pulling off victories over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sat. Dec. 27 at Verizon Center, followed by a road at the Toyota Center win over the Houston Rockets on Mon. Dec. 29. The team picked up both wins without all-star forward and team co-captain Caron Butler, who is out with a sprained left ankle and is listed as day-to-day. The 89-97 victory over Houston brought the Wizards record to 6-23 on the season.
The team was led by forward and co-captain Antawn Jamison, who scored a season high 30 points, and 12 rebounds. Forward Andray Blatche also turned in a strong performance, with 16 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists over the Rockets, who dropped to 20-12 on the season.
Both Blatche and forward Dominic McGuire turned in strong defensive performances, especially in the game€s closing moments against Rockets center Yao Ming (12 points) and forward Ron Artest (20 points).
€We told guys we had to keep it simple, nothing fancy. We had to dig in, defend with your legs, defend with your body, defend with your heart, and I thought we did a good job, € said Wizards interim head coach Ed Tapscott.
Known for making lineup changes to take advantage of matchups, or in this case to compensate for injury, Tapscott started Nick Young in place of Butler, who injured his ankle in the Christmas Day loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Young scored 14 points. Butler is the team€s scoring leader, averaging just over 21 points per game.
Houston Rockets star Tracy McGrady, who scored 15 points, had seven assists and six rebounds, made it clear that despite the dismal record, it was a mistake to the take Wizards too lightly.
€We just thought we could turn it on in the fourth quarter and win this ballgame against a team that doesn't really show they are a good team,€ McGrady said. It really backfired on us.€
The Wizards will next face Chris Paul and the New Orleans Hornets on Tue. Dec. 30 in New Orleans.