Ronny Turiaf is back in uniform for the first time since breaking his left hand more than two months ago. Coach Randy Wittman wasn’t certain that Turiaf would play, but he is more concerned about the Wizards come out against the defending champion Dallas Mavericks.
The Wizards have trailed by double-digits in the first half of six of their first seven games since the all-star break, including an 18-point second-quarter deficit during their 112-97 loss on Monday in San Antonio. Wittman has talked to his team about the importance of coming out strong from the jump, especially against a playoff-tested veteran team such as the Mavericks.
“It’s going to be important that we come out in the first five minutes to establish himself. It’s going to be key,” Wittman said. “It’s important to give yourselves and opportunity to establish what we need. It’s just a matter of going out and doing it. We can talk about it all we want. It’s just a matter of understanding that and going out and doing that.”
The Wizards (9-31) have struggled defensively in the past two weeks, but Wittman was optimistic that they would have a better effort in Dallas. “I don’t have any worry that our guys are not going to be focused to come into games like this, especially after what they did last year in winning it all,” Wittman said. “A lot of those guys back and added some pieces. These are the games that you look forward to.”
Rashard Lewis remains out with a bone bruise in his left knee. He said he might need to take a second synvisc shot on Friday in Atlanta.
Tipoff: 8:30 p.m. TV: Comcast SportsNet; Radio: 106.7 (WJFK FM). Check out a live box score for today’s game here.