Wizards Insider: Blatche, McGee resolve their differences
The Wizards' road-losing streak didn't come to an end in Houston, but Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee both said after the game that the unfortunate incident from last week has been resolved. Emotions got the best of the Blatche and McGee outside a local D.C. club early Friday morning, leading to a scuffle between teammates that was on public display for the partygoers in attendance.
It eventually led to one-game suspensions for both players under the team's new "zero tolerance policy" for off-the-court episodes. Blatche and McGee returned to the team -- as the respective starting power forward and center -- against the Rockets, and both players would like to put it behind them.
"I feel blessed. I'm just happy to be back on the court and playing with my teammates," Blatche said after recording his sixth double-double of the season with 17 points and 14 rebounds in the Wizards' 100-93 loss to the Houston Rockets. "I feel I let my team down by getting suspended. It killed me. That's why I'm going to do my best not to let that happen again."
Without offering any details about what led to the fracas, Blatche added that he and McGee have settled their differences. "We're good. We don't have no problem at all. We're straight. There's no problem at all."
McGee had expressed his regret for getting involved in a skirmish with Blatche but said he wouldn't dwell on it. "We're moving on. I got suspended, so it's like I did my time, you know what I mean. I'm moving forward. We're like brothers, you know. People don't always agree on things. But we're good."
Blatche and McGee are moving on, but their team remains paralyzed by an inability to win away from Verizon Center. They set a new franchise record with their 16th consecutive road loss, dating back to last season, and are 0-15 on the road this season.
It's getting next to impossible to rank which loss is most disappointing, since the list is way too long, but this defeat in Houston is up there. The Wizards just didn't seem have any composure in the final minutes, as the Rockets seemed to make every shot and free throw while coming back from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
As has been a trend for the past two seasons, the Wizards responded to the Rockets' charge by rolling over, providing little resistance aside from turnovers and rushed jumpers towards a collapse.
"I feel like We're playing hard and playing great. We just got to finish it," said McGee who had two points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots. "That's a team we should've beat. But they got us this time."
John Wall placed a lot of the blame on himself for not getting his teammates to settle down and running the offense as Houston came back. Wall came off the bench and had been playing well through the first three quarters, as he scored all 13 of his points, going 9 of 10 from the foul line. Saunders had to lean on Wall perhaps more than he had expected, since he was playing so well. He basically scrapped the minutes limitation and played Wall for nearly 11 minutes in the fourth quarter, when the No. 1 overall pick started to look a little winded.
In the fourth quarter, Wall was 0 for 2 and missed all three of his free throw attempts -- including a technical foul shot that could've given the Wizards a 10-point lead with less than nine minutes. It got more difficult for Wall as his man he guarded -- Aaron Brooks -- dominated the fourth quarter and brought his team all the way back. Brooks accounted for 23 of the Rockets' 32 points in the fourth quarter, scoring 13 and handing out four assists.
"I think he's like our team," Saunders said of Wall. "He's got to understand, when he makes a mistake or misses free throws, he gets down, he relaxes and then by him relaxing, his guy comes off and gets a three, or gets a good look or gets to the line. And all of our players, we've got to have better concentration in those situations."
Wall said he felt fine physically, as he works himself back from a bone bruise under his right kneecap, and was okay with his role as a reserve with Kirk Hinrich continuing his solid play as the starting point guard. Hinrich scored 19 points, but oddly enough had no assists. "Kirk is doing a great job. I don't mind coming off the bench right now, because I'm not fully healthy and Kirk is doing a great job of running the team and making shots for us," Wall said. "It's kind of tough to put me in and take Kirk out."
Saunders certainly had a hard time sitting Hinrich, since he was the only player who seemed capable of slowing down Martin, who scored just six of his 20 points in the second half. "It's not a coincidence that whoever we put Kirk on, that guys has trouble scoring. Martin gets 10 early, we switch Kirk on to him and he has problems getting shots off. All of our players have to learn to have that same readiness and intensity as he does."