Caron Butler watched the second half and overtime of Tuesday's 119-111 victory over Toronto from the Wizards' bench, then dressed quickly before slipping out of the locker room after the game. If Butler was bothered by Coach Eddie Jordan's decision to go with a lineup that didn't include him for most of the game, Washington's third-leading scorer was over it yesterday.
"I was up applauding the team and was a big part of what happened by cheering from the bench," said Butler, who played a season-low 13 minutes and matched a season low with two points on 1-of-4 shooting. "Like any player, I'm not going to be happy sitting on the bench but I'm still going to be a strong supporter of the guys who are out there."
Jordan said his decision to go with a second-half rotation that didn't include Butler or reserve guard Chucky Atkins, who did not play, was based on the way his team was playing defense.
"I'm honest with the team when I tell them that the group that is defending is the group that I'm going to go with," Jordan said. "I'm not pointing fingers at Caron, saying that Caron didn't defend well, but there were a few times during the second half when I turned and asked my assistants: 'The guys look tired, maybe I should give them a blow,' but we liked the way that group was defending." . . .
Jordan might have surprised even himself when he looked down the bench at the end of the first quarter and called for rookie forward Andray Blatche, who had appeared in only two games. Blatche played four minutes and finished with two points and one rebound.