Lo and behold, the very next game after the frustrations of Mike James were written about by myself and Mike Prada of Bullets Forever, the veteran guard’s name was called to play on Sunday against the LA Clippers. But don’t think it was because people have been calling for Flip Saunders to #FreeMikeJames. After the game, the coach indicated that part of the reason James saw action was because Earl Boykins had an issue with his heel.
Summoned to play for the first time in 80 days, James checked in with 2:33 left in the second quarter and immediately hit a runner off the glass. He also held his own against Baron Davis with effort on defense, but did make a silly, costly turnover on the Wizards’ last possession of the first half.
In the second half, James played just under 17 minutes and scored nine points, dropping two assists to two turnovers. He ended up taking the third most shots among all Wizards, attempting 11 and making four, in 19 total minutes of action. It was James, and not Randy Foye, who received the main minutes down the stretch in the fourth quarter. He and Mike Miller both led the team with +3, the only two Wizards with a positive plus/minus rating.
In his press conference, Saunders threw some credit in James’ direction. “He didn’t always play effective, he made some mistakes, but he played hard and played with energy. If you do that consistently as a team, you’ll find a way to get your way back.”
So, good for Mike, as he’s certainly become a favorite of the media and those on Twitter (such as @wzzntzz) alike. Maybe he can earn more playing time in the future, play up his trade value (in addition to his expiring contract status), and the relationship between him and the Wizards can end in a way that will work out best for everyone.
Now, it’s fitting to finish with a video of Mike reacting to the sudden post-game attention given to him by the throngs of media, how he was surprised, almost confused, when Flip called his name, and how his teammates had to alert him to go to the scorer’s table.