Washington Wizards Coach Doug Collins changed his starting lineup for tonight's game with the Portland Trail Blazers, inserting Jahidi White at center and Tyronn Lue at point guard.
White made his first start of the season in place of Brendan Haywood, who had started 68 straight games. Lue, who was inserted into the starting lineup two games before the All-Star Game, regained his starting position after missing six games with a separated left shoulder and being used as Larry Hughes's backup the following six games.
Collins did not explain the reason for the change before the game and, over the past few days, said he did not want to shuffle the lineup because of the potential for causing dissension. With the team losing three straight, Collins clearly felt a change was needed. His move paid off with a 95-91 victory.
White, who played in just his seventh game after missing most of the season recuperating from left knee surgery, had 10 points, 9 rebounds and 1 blocked shot in a season-high 22 minutes in Washington's 113-107 loss to Golden State on Sunday.
Lue is viewed as a pure point guard, unlike the 6-foot-5 Hughes, a converted shooting guard. Physically, he was a better matchup with Portland starting point guard Damon Stoudamire, who, at 5 feet 10, is two inches shorter than Lue.
Pippen-Jordan: No Match
Portland guard Scottie Pippen missed tonight's game with a knee injury, denying he and former Chicago Bulls teammate Michael Jordan one final matchup. Pippen and Jordan, named among the 50 greatest players of all time, won six titles together with the Bulls.
"We don't see it as playing against each other," Jordan said of Pippen, whom he last faced in a 98-79 loss in Washington Dec. 10. "We respectfully try to lead our teams to win. But we have so many memories. We've had so many good practices against each other. So many good times."
Pippen has missed the past four games after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.
Tonight's game was briefly delayed with 1.2 seconds left in the third quarter when a male fan, wearing a white uniform typically worn by kitchen staffers in restaurants and hoisting a white cloth banner that read, "No War," strolled onto the court.
Guard Bonzi Wells was set to take a free throw at the time, providing the lull in action that allowed the fan the opportunity to walk three-quarters of the length of the court holding the banner over his head before being subdued by arena security. The crowd booed him as he staged his one-man protest then applauded after he was brought to the ground and carried out of the arena.
There was a large anti-war protest in downtown Portland this afternoon. . . .
Forward Charles Oakley missed his third straight game with a swollen right knee. He said he is unsure if he will be able to play in the remaining three games of the Western Conference road trip.