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Trying to Win Is Still the Wizards' Focus, Tapscott Says

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By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Wizards entered last night's game against Oklahoma City with an unsightly 4-23 record, so thoughts about the playoffs have pretty much been replaced by thoughts of the draft lottery for many Wizards fans.

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However, interim coach Ed Tapscott and the organization as a whole -- including owner Abe Pollin and president Ernie Grunfeld -- are still approaching each game with the idea of winning.

It is why team insiders continue to insist that Gilbert Arenas will return to action at some point this season and it explains why Tapscott continues to juggle his starting lineup and rotation in hopes of finding a way to turn things around.

So what does Tapscott say to frustrated fans who believe he should give heavy minutes to players like rookie center JaVale McGee and second-year guards Nick Young and Javaris Crittenton, even if that means sacrificing games now?

"I would say to them that there is some logic to that," Tapscott said before the game. "However, that logic doesn't consider the other side of the coin, which is what do you do with your veterans? The veterans generally establish the culture of your team and if they're not participating, how do they take that leadership role? Certainly, we are going to give those young players an opportunity to secure some minutes, to get some experience but you have to take a balanced approach."

"That also smacks of throwing in the towel on the season. I expect for us to get to winning some games and I need both my veterans and my young players to do that. I'm not conceding anything with regards to this season. Our job is to get to winning."

Up Next: Sunday at Houston 8:30 p.m. Comcast SportsNet, WTEM-980

Tuesday at New Orleans 8 p.m. WDCW-50, WTEM-980

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