Mustafa Shakur, Othyus Jeffers, Hamady N’diaye, Kevin Seraphin and Cartier Martin.
Those were all of the players available for the Wizards off the bench last night in Utah. Shakur didn’t play (coach’s decision being the given reason), and N’diaye tallied just three minutes in the box score, nothing else. Jeffers, Seraphin and Martin combined for 18 points on 6-14 from the field and 17 rebounds, five offensive thanks to the bruising workmanship of Jeffers. The numbers of the bench squad with the most unique set of names ever weren’t astounding, but the Wizards made it work in their somewhat shocking 100-95 overtime win over the Utah Jazz on Monday night.
Sure, Utah was missing Devin Harris and Andrei Kirilenko from their starting lineup, instead putting out a unit of Earl Watson, C.J. Miles, Raja Bell, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson. But a Wizards starting five of John Wall, Jordan Crawford, Mo Evans, Yi Jianlian and JaVale McGee didn’t have a chance of feeling sorry for the Jazz, or themselves.
Jazz fans, however, may be feeling sorry for themselves … enough to boo their team at intermittent times throughout the game as Washington fought to gain control early, and then tried their best to relinquish it late, despite Utah’s best effort to not take advantage. It was odd to hear the Wizards television team of Steve Buckhantz and Phil Chenier recount just how far the Utah franchise has fallen in the year 2011. The Jazz were 27-13 when they made an east coast trip in mid-January, beginning with a game in Washington on the 17th.
Jerry Sloan’s team proceeded to lose to the Wizards on Martin Luther King Day, and then they lost five more in a row. Barely a month later, Sloan resigned after a 23-year run with the team and star point guard Deron Williams was traded to New Jersey. Now the Jazz are left in a vastly uncertain rebuilding mode with Tyrone Corbin as their coach, a six game losing streak (including last night’s take down by the Wizards), and a 36-39 record that looks to keep them out of the playoffs for just the fifth time in the last 28 years (also the fifth time in the last eight years, to be fair).
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