Washingon Wizards Monthly Report - February

Barry Barnes | 2/5/2009, 3:45 p.m.

For the month of January, it was the same old song, inconsistency on both ends of the court, lack of help for Jamison and Butler and lack of toughness in the paint. But the Wizards started a new theme of losing games in the 4th quarter. Coming into and mid-way through January, the Wizards lost 12 games when leading in the last 12 minutes of those contests. That said, the Wizards play hard every night and there€s no quit in this team, just inexperience.
    L.A.Clippers guard Eric Gordan scored 25 points and Wizards rookie JaVale McGee had 18 points as the two battle for ball possession around the nets in the first half. Photo by John E De Freitas - WI Sports Photo Editor
    Captain Antawn Jamison led the Wizards scoring with 25 points. Photo by John E De Freitas - WI Sports Photo Editor

    €Lessons in the NBA are tough for inexperienced players,€ said interim head coach Ed Tapscott. €Other coaches and experienced players know how to exploit that inexperience.€ Due to the body count of injured players, guard Gilbert Arenas (knee), center Brendan Haywood€s (wrist) guard DeShawn Stevenson (back), although Stevenson did return for the Fri. Jan. 30 game against the Philadelphia 76ers), and center Etan Thomas (out indefinitely), the Wizards can add forward Andray Blatche to the injured list. Blatche will be out two to four weeks for hurting his knee on Mon. Jan. 26 against the Phoenix Suns.

    Butler and Jamison are also banged up, but are showing leadership by example and optimism. €You€ve got to remain positive and you€ve got to go out there and set the example as the captain for the younger guys,€ said Butler. €[Yyou have to] stay strong for this organization and this city.€
    f the Wizards want to make a run, this month is their best chance to do so. In February, competition for the Wizards gets a little lighter and out of the twelve games they play, eight are at home. The Wizards have to face two powerhouse squads, the Denver Nuggets and the San Antonio Spurs, this month and both games are at home. When the Spurs come to town on Sat. Feb. 21, it will mark the return of one of D.C.€s favorite sons, guard Roger Mason, Jr. who is having probably his best year as a pro.

    The Wizards are now in a youth movement, going back to basics by rotatiting at the offensive end to set up the plays properly with patience and communication. On defense, they must show more consistency, more hard, physical play, and ,somehow, keep a positive attitude.

    €My focus is on making sure that we make progress,€ Tapscott said. €I think it€s very important for somebody to stay very positive in their focus and that someone is me. These guys are smart; they understand where they are and they understand some of the issues we have.€