at New Jersey
Tomorrow, 7:30 p.m.
Comcast SportsNet, WWRC-1260
Washington Wizards guard Anthony Peeler, who missed 20 consecutive games with knee tendinitis, was activated before yesterday's win over the Charlotte Bobcats and saw his first action since March 3. He checked in with 7 minutes 14 seconds remaining in the third quarter and finished with three steals and an assist in seven minutes. Peeler immediately drew the attention of Charlotte Coach Bernie Bickerstaff, who pointed at Peeler and hollered, "Shooter."
Peeler's three-point shooting -- he led the NBA in three-point shooting percentage at 48.2 percent as a member of the Sacramento Kings last season -- is just one of the things Wizards Coach Eddie Jordan wants from the veteran when the playoffs begin. Peeler is also a tough perimeter defender and an above-average rebounder who has a knack for creating extra possessions with steals and offensive rebounds.
Peeler, in his 13th season from Missouri, also has something that is rare on the Washington roster: playoff experience. Peeler appeared in 50 playoff games with the Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Kings. The remainder of the Wizards' roster has combined to appear in 13 playoff games.
"It felt good to get out there and play a little bit," Peeler said. "It's been awhile. I won't need a lot of time to get my legs back though. I've been doing this for a long time now." . . .
Forward Michael Ruffin missed his first game of the season because of heel soreness. Ruffin, who is expected to play at New Jersey tomorrow night, was the only Wizard to appear in the first 71 games. . . . Forward Damone Brown was deactivated to make room for Peeler. . . . With 42 points in the final two games, Antawn Jamison would join Gilbert Arenas and Larry Hughes as the third Wizard to average 20 points this season. . . . Jordan said his playing rotation for the final two games will be dependent upon the relevance of those games to the Wizards' playoff needs. "I want to have momentum going into the playoffs, I want to continue our chemistry," Jordan said. "If I see we can't move up or down, I will look to rest or play some guys."
-- Ivan Carter