Wizards Stung By Hornets
Carla Peay | 3/12/2009, 12:33 a.m.
The Washington Wizards welcomed in all-star Chris Paul and the New Orleans Hornets in front of a sparse crowd on Wed. March 11 at Verizon Center. Although the Wizards kept the game close in the first half, and led the Hornets until under a minute before halftime, the Hornets blew the game open in the 3rd quarter, scoring 40 points en route to a 109-98 victory.
€If we had just made it a 30 point quarter, we would have been fine. We allowed it to be a 40 point quarter, and that was the game,€ said Wizards interim head coach Ed Tapscott.
Hornets€ all-star guard Chris Paul stole the show, posting 30 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists for his second triple-double against the Wizards this season.
€Chris Paul had the antidote for everything we did. We threw just about every defensive scheme we had, and he had the antidote to whatever we tried. Sometimes you have to say €great players make great plays and they play very well with their teammates€ and he does,€ Tapscott said.
Once again, the Wizards got off to a fast start, slowed down in the middle, made a fourth quarter run, but could not close out the Hornets, who improved their record to 40-23, while the Wizards fell to 15-50.
€We have to try something to get us to focus for 48 minutes. If we could cut the game to 36 minutes, we might have a significantly better record,€ Tapscott said.
Paul led all scorers with his 30 point performance, and praised the Wizards team, despite their subpar season.
€This team is dangerous. The really have nothing to lose right now and they€re talented. They have a lot of guys who can handle the ball and we started defending at the right time,€ Paul said of the Wizards.
The game also marked the second time former Wizards point guard Antonio Daniels played against his old team at Verizon Center. Daniels, who maintains friendships with several of his former teammates, cautioned that game time is not the time for personal feelings.
€I have to put my individual feelings aside, and worry about the bigger picture here,€ Daniels said, referring to the Hornets€ victory. Daniels also praised the player he now backs up, Chris Paul.
€He€s something else. He€s a great player on the floor, but what impresses me is that he€s a better person off the floor.€
Wizards forward Antawn Jamison also talked about Paul, as the team caption struggled through another defeat at the hands of a superstar player and a more complete team.
€Chris Paul just did a great job as far as taking over at the end of the third quarter. We were able to find a way to get back into it, but he does a great job as far as demanding so much attention,€ Jamison said.
The Wizards will welcome in another superstar on Friday, March 13, when Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic come to town. Even as the team tries to maintain focus over the final six weeks of the NBA regular season, Tapscott knows there are still lessons to be learned.
€I think it€s extremely important when you€re struggling that you maintain a very tight hold on what you consider to be your team values and your team culture. It€s easy to extend to people opportunities that aren€t earned,€ Tapscott said. €But I don€t believe that that€s the right way to develop your team. You have to work at the highest level in this league.€