Washington Wizards forward Andray Blatche heard boos for a second straight game from the Verizon Center crowd, and looking at the final box score from the 108-104 loss to Denver, it appeared fans’ displeasure was warranted.
Blatche missed all seven of his field goal attempts and committed five personal fouls and three turnovers in 26 minutes. If it weren’t for a pair of free throws in the first half, he would have gone scoreless for the game.
Still, Wizards Coach Flip Saunders pointed out in his postgame news conference that Blatche’s plus-minus rating was a plus-4. Then he proceeded to defend the most polarizing player on the roster.
“Even though he didn’t score, the team performed better when he was on the court tonight,” Saunders said. “He’s struggling right now, but he is a part of who we are, and the guys are building him up to come back, and I’m sure we’ll see that on Sunday” against Boston.
Blatche bid a hasty retreat from the locker room following the game, but teammates such as John Wall echoed their coach’s comments even after disgruntled fans continued their verbal assault throughout the game.
One fan screamed, “Oh no, don’t give it to him,” when Blatche touched the ball. Another yelled comparisons to Kwame Brown, the Wizards’ failed No. 1 overall pick that still haunts many of the club’s faithful.
“It’s tough, man. It’s tough playing through that situation,” Wall said of Blatche getting booed. “We as teammates, we’re going to keep telling him to take those shots.”
Blatche didn’t seem to be as flustered with the jeers on Wednesday night, when he scored 12 points and had 10 rebounds, four assists and two steals in a 105-102 win against Oklahoma City.
Afer that game, Blatche admitted he heard the taunts but played through the widespread disapproval.
“Booing is not going to help somebody play better. I know that,” Saunders said. “It’s showing displeasure, but I don’t think all of sudden if you’re booing, he’s going to go out and get 20 points and 15 rebounds because we’re booing. If that was the case, everyone would do it.”
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