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News » Captains bring the heat

Captains bring the heat

Captains bring the heat
The Washington Wizards emerged from Thursday night's 122-88 thumping by the Boston Celtics embarrassed and frustrated - but also with a lesson.

The defending champs didn't just outplay the Wizards, they dominated them in every way imaginable. If it wasn't a member of the "Big Three" of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen abusing Washington, it was center Kendrick Perkins manhandling his counterparts in the paint or reserve guard Eddie House knocking down 3-pointers. And every member of the Celtics played relentless defense.

After the Wizards (4-16) retreated to the locker room, team captains Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler went on a tirade about Washington's collective lack of effort and heart.

"[It] was kind of crazy. It kind of got heated in there," Jamison said. "You get beat by 30, you should be heated. We can't have guys taking it for granted. We're not going to get used to losing. They wanted to come in here and whip our [butts] last night, and they did it. And if that doesn't [tick] you off or make you upset, then we don't want you on this team. I don't want you on this team."

Butler echoed Jamison's sentiments. He said the message to their underperforming teammates was "to let these guys know we can't lose like that and then act like it's no big deal. It's unacceptable."

Interim coach Ed Tapscott, who in Thursday's postgame news conference refused to point out any positives, had the Wizards' younger players and new acquisitions Mike James and Javaris Crittenton on the court an hour early Friday. He wanted to address the holdovers' shortcomings and help the new players learn the system.

A select group of veterans were excluded from the session, but when they reported an hour later, Tapscott worked them as well, running practice for an additional two hours.

"I said, 'Look, guys, we got ourselves here, 4-16,' " Tapscott said. " 'And the only way to get out of this is to work.' So I said no more easy practices. You look at Boston and how they got where they are? They work."

Tapscott said he was pleased to hear of the criticism the captains administered the night before and he hopes the Wizards can respond on the court.

"The last thing you want to see is resignation, when guys don't seem to care. So the fact that my guys are upset? I'm not at all unhappy with that," he said. "I had said [Thursday night], everybody's got a plan until they get hit in the mouth, and watching the tape, Boston definitely hit us in the mouth a couple times early. And we need to improve our response. To use a boxing term, I'd rather be a stick-and-move guy, but sometimes you do have to be a counterpuncher."

Despite the vigorous drilling, practice was upbeat. The day ended on a high note when Crittenton brought the ball upcourt with time running out and drilled a 3-pointer to lift the second team to a scrimmage win against the first team - the younger players' first such victory in some time.

Notes - Crittenton and James still have a good deal of learning to do before they can be fully counted on, but Tapscott implemented two foundational packages so, when the new point guards are called on Saturday in Philadelphia, at least they'll feel comfortable. For now, Juan Dixon, who had 17 points, seven assists and four steals Thursday, will remain the starting point guard...

Despite another poor performance from starting shooting guard DeShawn Stevenson (zero points on 0-for-4 shooting against Boston), Tapscott said he hasn't considered benching the ninth-year veteran.

"DeShawn Stevenson is a trusted veteran, and trusted veterans get all due respect and all deference," he said. "He plays hard and he defends, so if his shooting's off, I live with that. ... Every player goes through a slump, and I'm positive he will come out of it"

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: December 14, 2008


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