WASHINGTON (AP) -- Washington coach Eddie Jordan tinkered with
the starting lineup and the Wizards played one of their best games
of the season, but not everyone was happy.
While regular starters Brendan Haywood and Antawn Jamison
started the game on the bench, rookie Donell Taylor scored a
career-high 15 points and Jared Jeffries tied his career best with
15 points as the slumping Wizards cruised to a 103-72 win over the
Haywood and Antawn Jamison, the only two Wizards to start every
game this year, were scratched from the starting lineup before the
game. Wizards coach Eddie Jordan called Jamison on Tuesday to
inform him of the change, but Haywood said he did not find out
until the lineups were posted 20 minutes before the game.
Haywood did not enter the game until more than six minutes had
elapsed in the third quarter and finished with 10 points.
"Eddie didn't say anything to me about it," Haywood said. "I
probably would have liked to have it done a different way, you know
what I'm saying, come talk to me, sit down and tell me why that's
happening. But he still hasn't said anything to me about it.
Probably won't. I guess that's his M.O."
Jamison entered the game six minutes into the game and finished
with 13 points and seven rebounds.
The more defensive-minded lineup seemed to have an impact on the
Wizards, who had lost five of their previous six games. The Wizards
(14-19) finished with a 52-31 rebounding margin, and held the Hawks
to a season-low point total for a Washington opponent. The Wizards
also had 27 second-chance points, 23 steals and seven blocked
Jordan said he got the idea for the lineup during practice on
Tuesday, when Jamison went down briefly with a knee injury and
Michael Ruffin replaced him and joined reserve forward Calvin Booth
and starters Jeffries, Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler.
"They went up and down a few times, and I really, really liked
it -- it really got me going" Jordan said. "I talked to Antawn...
at length about it. He was a true professional about it. He said,
'Coach, if you want to try it, I want to do anything to get us
Jamison, who won the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year award for the
Dallas Mavericks in 2003-04, said he was happy to oblige, but has
no intention of winning that honor again.
"I don't see myself as a guy coming off the bench," Jamison
said. "But we won tonight, so even though I was coming off the
bench, I'm happy."
But Haywood said he could not hide his displeasure with the
"I'm not going to sit here and lie to you, I'm not really happy
about it," Haywood said. "I guess I wasn't important enough on
this team to have him call me and let me know that after starting
for the last couple years for him, I wasn't going to be starting
The postgame drama overshadowed career efforts by rookies Taylor
and 19-year-old forward Andray Blatche, who both set career marks
for minutes played. Blatche set new personal bests with nine points
and seven rebounds.
Taylor's effort started on the defensive end and carried over to
offense, where he finished 6 for 8 shooting.
"It means a lot to me that my coaches and teammates have a lot
of faith in me," Taylor said. "I just want to go out there and
play as well as I can on the defensive end, and anything I do on
the offensive end is a plus."
Atlanta (9-24), playing for the second straight night, scored on
the game's first possession and then never led again as it lost to
Washington for the sixth straight time.
"They beat us every way you can beat a team," Hawks coach Mike
Woodson said. "I don't know if that was because of the back to
back, but we haven't had a game like this in a long time."
Gilbert Arenas, the Wizards leading scorer, finished with only
nine points, but he played a key role in a 7-0 run that gave the
Wizards a 10-point lead late in the first quarter. Arenas had a
layup, a free throw and an assist as the Wizards took a 21-11 lead
with two minutes left in the first period.
Wizards G Chucky Atkins missed his second straight game due
to the birth of his third child. He is in Orlando with his family,
and Jordan said he did not know when Atkins would return.