The Wizards have employed man-to-man defenses this season and mixed in plenty of zone, but all too often they have unwittingly employed the career-day defense. For example, Friday night's 105-102 home loss to the Milwaukee Bucks featured a 35-point performance by previously unheralded third-year Bucks guard Maurice Williams.
Several Wizards got a crack at defending Williams, who made 15 of 21 shots overall and 5 of 7 three-point attempts, including the game-winner at the buzzer. He became the latest opponent to have a big night against the Wizards, who are 7-8 entering Tuesday night's game at MCI Center against the Toronto Raptors.
* On Nov. 9, Elton Brand scored a then season-high 31 points and pulled down a season-high 13 rebounds in leading the Los Angeles Clippers to a 102-97 win at MCI Center, handing the Wizards their first loss of the season.
* In a nationally televised 109-98 loss at Minnesota on Nov. 17, Kevin Garnett just missed posting his only triple-double of the season and seldom-used reserve guard Richie Frahm hit four three-pointers.
* In a 100-82 loss at Charlotte last Saturday, Gerald Wallace (26) points, Melvin Ely (14) and Kareem Rush (23) each came close to posting season highs for the Bobcats.
Stars such as Garnett, Brand and LeBron James, who scored 37 points against the Wizards in a Cleveland win on Nov. 15, are expected to have big games. But what has hurt the Wizards through the first 15 games is the performance of players such as Williams, Frahm, Ely and Hedo Turkoglu, who had a season-high 23 points in Orlando's 91-83 win over the Wizards on Nov. 23.
"You hope it's like my golf game," Wizards Coach Eddie Jordan said. "If I go par-par-par, you know it's going to go double bogey, triple bogey somewhere along the line. It's going to have to even out as the season goes along."
Concerns at Shooting Guard
Shooting guard continues to be an area of concern for the Wizards, particularly on the offensive end. Jarvis Hayes, who has started the last six games, is averaging 8.6 points and 3.5 rebounds while Antonio Daniels, who had started eight of the first nine games, is averaging 5.4 points and 3.3 assists per game. Hayes, who missed all three shots he took in 20 minutes against Milwaukee, is shooting 40.9 percent from the field and has made 9 of 30 three-point attempts.
Daniels, who played a solid all-around game Friday night, with a season-high seven assists, has gone without a field goal in five of the last six games and is shooting 31.9 percent.
Jordan isn't looking for Hayes or Daniels to single-handedly replace the 22 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.7 assists that Larry Hughes posted last season, but he does want to see Hayes and Daniels establish a better flow on offense.
"I want to give guys a chance to find a groove with a group," Jordan said. "Are we still searching? We're not getting tremendous production from that position as far as points and consistency but A.D. comes in -- I started him in the third quarter [against Milwaukee] because I thought he had it going. He gives us another penetrator. He can draw and kick to [Gilbert Arenas], let Gil play off the ball. Jarvis defended very well. A.D. defended very well. We just haven't had scoring production from that spot."
This and That
Forward Michael Ruffin, who missed the last two games because of knee tendinitis, did not practice yesterday and remains day-to-day. . . . Forward Antawn Jamison narrowly missed posting his seventh consecutive double-double Friday night, finishing with 15 points and nine rebounds. Jamison attempted a season-low 11 shots, making six.