By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 25, 2009
PORTLAND, Ore., Jan. 24 -- In the fourth quarter of Thursday's loss to the Lakers in Los Angeles, interim coach Ed Tapscott went with a youthful lineup of guards Javaris Crittenton and Nick Young, forwards Dominic McGuire and Oleksiy Pecherov, and center JaVale McGee.
The group, which primarily played against Lakers reserves, helped the Wizards outscore the Lakers 29-20 in the quarter. Tapscott said he was pleased at the way the group settled down and executed after four early turnovers -- something he continues to want to see out of his young players as the season goes along.
"I was finally happy with our young guys and the way down the stretch they hustled and the way physically and mentally, they raised their level," Tapscott said. "With young players you have to look for positive things. You have to look for things to build up with."
McGuire the group felt free to just play because of the blowout nature of the game.
"I hate to say it was fun but it was because we were running," McGuire said. "We were just playing. We weren't calling any plays, we had the young group in and we were just getting the ball up the court attacking the rim and that was fun. But we still lost the game, so we couldn't feel too good about it." . . . Etan Thomas, who is out with a torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee and did not make the trip, has yet to undergo surgery and may be reevaluated with another MRI exam, Tapscott said.