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New Wizards Guard James Makes His First Start

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By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 18, 2008

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Dec. 17 -- Mike James won a championship ring as a member of the 2004 Detroit Pistons and Wednesday night, he made his first start as a Washington Wizard against his former team at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

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James, acquired last week in the trade that sent Antonio Daniels to New Orleans, had come off the bench in his first three games as a Wizard but interim coach Ed Tapscott said a close review of the veteran guard's statistical history led to the change.

James replaced Juan Dixon in a lineup that included DeShawn Stevenson, Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison and Andray Blatche. Dixon had started the previous three games and opened three games earlier in the season under former coach Eddie Jordan.

James's last start came last season with Houston. He has made 214 starts in an eight-year career that has included stops with nine teams. His last regular starting stint came in the 2006-07 season when he opened 65 games with Minnesota and averaged 10.1 points and 3.6 assists while shooting 42.2 percent.

"Mike has always played better when he has minutes," Tapscott said before the game. "We brought him here to play, so let's give him some minutes so we get some quality play out of him. And then, Juan has always been more comfortable coming off the bench and providing a spark there. I want to put guys in spots where they are comfortable."

Tapscott said he planned on giving the current lineup "a chance to work." It's the seventh starting lineup this season.

Up Next: Thursday vs. Philadelphia 7 p.m. Comcast SportsNet, WTEM-980

Sunday vs. Dallas 6 p.m. Comcast SportsNet, WTNT-570

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