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Wake-up call: Wizards starters log heavy minutes
Question of the Day
With Saturday's 108-101 win vs. the Atlanta Hawks, the Wizards completed their second consecutive week of winning three of their four games in five days.
A win at Verizon Center on Monday vs. the Orlando Magic would mean a .500 record for the first time since 2009, when the Wizards last qualified for the playoffs.
Coach Randy Wittman has relied heavily on his starters, four of whom played 38 minutes or more vs. Atlanta. Martell Webster and Marcin Gortat logged 41, John Wall 39 and Trevor Ariza 38. Nene, who missed Friday's game because of a sore right Achilles, played 36.
It's not ideal, but the Wizards (8-9) don't have much of a choice with Bradley Beal (right fibula), Al Harrington (right knee) and Otto Porter (right hip) out.
"It hasn't been consistent. We've had some good nights and some not so good nights," Wittman said of his reserves, who he used sparingly Saturday. "I tell those guys that I'm searching right now. This is their opportunity to audition, to show me that they deserve to be out there. I'm using just about everybody in the minutes that I can, but I can't wait around.
"The bottom line is, that we put ourselves in the position to win, and I'm not going to lose a game. I'm trying to do the best I can from the standpoint of getting smarter with a sub before a timeout, and let them get the timeout. ... Some of these guys are reaching into 40-plus, which I don't like to do, but you know what, if we have to go out and win a game, we're going to go out and win a game."
Chris Singleton, who recently returned from left foot surgery, led the bench with 17 minutes. Jan Vesely played 15, Eric Maynor nine, Kevin Seraphin four and Garrett Temple just one. They combined for 14 points with no one scoring more than four. Rookie Glen Rice and Trevor Booker didn't get playing time.
"Once in a blue moon they have a good game. They just got to be comfortable. It's tough trying to find a rotation with certain guys being injured especially like Chris, he just got back," Wall said. "Otto is coming back soon. You don't know what you want to do, where you're putting certain guys. I tell Glen Rice and all those young guys just keep working, putting in your time. ... We'll figure out what our bench should be like. We don't even know who we're going to play certain nights."
Ariza, who recently missed two weeks with a right hamstring strain, can use the break. The Wizards are off Sunday. After Monday's game, they don't play again until Friday.
"Rest is always important, especially when you are playing a lot. We definitely need to get some production off the bench," Ariza said. "It's not like those guys are trying to play bad. It's just rough. It's a good thing we have a few days to work on some things. I'm positive the bench will get it together."
By Mark Davis
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