It might have just been another pre-season game for the Wizards or an exhibition as they called it tonight against Zalgiris Kaunas, but it was a chance to give Gilbert Arenas and Antawn Jamison the night off and for Andray Blatche and Caron Butler to run the show in a 115-96 victory over the team that looked like an army of green warriors.
Blatche, who sported a Chad Johnson style mowhawk, led the Wizards with 20 points and 8 rebounds. Butler showed he is back and in full force for the upcoming season with 14 points including a monstrous dunk on Zalgiris player Mantas Kalnietis, who got a taste of the foam backing on the basket and Butler staring at him after the bucket.
With Arenas and Jamison on the bench, it was more time for the rookies to shine and Eddie Jordan to take a better look at Nick Young and Dominc Mc Guire.
Young who hit a three pointer in your face bucket with 0.06 left on the clock, finished the game with 15 points in 24 minutes on the floor. Jordan liked the athleticism that both Young and McGuire showed tonight.
“You want your young guys to get a taste of basketball in the NBA,” Jordan said. “So, we want to max out their time and give them a chance to get as comfortable as possible.”
Tonight’s game capped a week-long, three-city tour for Zalgiris Kaunas, which lost at Golden State on Monday (107-88) and at Toronto on Wednesday (105-99). There is one thing to be said about this team… fans… Their fans, which probably made up more than half of the 12,872 announced fans at the Verizon Center..
It looked more like a soccer game inside of the building tonight than a basketball game. Face paint.. flags…signs.. you name it their fans brought it along for support.
Caron Butler Made a Statement For 2007 Tonight at Verizon Center With a Towering Dunk
Fans who attended the game tonight had the chance to sign giant get-well card for center Etan Thomas, who is recovering from successful open-heart surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
Thomas could be released as soon as tomorrow, but according to doctors at the Clinic and team doctors it is expected to require several months of recovery time before he can be cleared to resume basketball activities. He has not been ruled out for the season and remains on the roster.
The card by the half was more than full on the front side and fans had to the move to the front and sign the large picture on Thomas that was on he front of the card.
Next up for the Wizards, a trip to Atlanta to face the Hawks on Monday the 22nd. The Season opener has them facing off against the Pacers in Indianapolis in the 31st.