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With Etan Thomas Out, Andray Blatche Gets Nod For Wizards

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By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 6, 2008

MILWAUKEE, Nov. 5 -- When the team learned that veteran center Etan Thomas (sprained left ankle) would be unable to play Wednesday night against the Bucks, Wizards Coach Eddie Jordan made the somewhat surprising decision to start Andray Blatche in place of Thomas.

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It was surprising because Blatche drew Jordan's ire during Saturday's loss at Detroit when he was burned by former Wizard Kwame Brown for three scores during a four-minute stretch in the first half. Blatche was quickly pulled from the game and did not get off the bench in the second half.

Thomas, who injured the ankle Saturday, is day-to-day.

"For me, it's behavior," Jordan said of Blatche. "That means a lot. If you can give effort, that's number one and if you can behave, that's number two. Do you have great enthusiasm? Do you help your teammates? Are you communicating the right way? Is your body language positive? Are you giving off positive emotion? Some of those were lacking."

Jordan has repeatedly stated that he is looking for more consistent effort out of the fourth-year player and he hoped Wednesday night's start would be the spark.

"We want it to sort of jump-start him for the remainder of the season," Jordan said. "Not just a flash [Wednesday night]. We want him to give great effort and play his role and carry it to [Thursday's] practice and the weekend."

Blatche did play some of his best basketball last season as a starter. While he averaged 7.5 points and 5.2 rebounds overall, he averaged 11.5 points and 8.1 rebounds in his 15 starts.

UP NEXT: Thursday vs. Knicks 7 p.m. Comcast SportsNet, WTEM-980

Saturday at Orlando 7 p.m. Comcast SportsNet, WTEM-980


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