Butler scores 33 to lead Wizards over SuperSonics, 108-86
WASHINGTON (AP)—The Washington Wizards had just won their second straight game by more than 20 points, but coach Eddie Jordan wasn’t happy.
At halftime of Washington’s 108-86 victory over the Seattle SuperSonics on Sunday, Jordan lectured the team.
“We’re not that good,” Jordan told them.
Washington raced to a 31-17 first-quarter lead, while Seattle missed 10 of its first 13 shots in getting off to a sluggish start. Perhaps the Wizards were convinced they were about to win again easily, as they did in Milwaukee on Friday night.
“We’re not Boston. We’re not Detroit. I wanted to put reality on the table,” Jordan said.
Seattle never led. The closest the SuperSonics got was 43-42 with 3:02 to play in the half. The Wizards led 52-46 at the half, and let Seattle play with them through most of the third quarter before outscoring them 32-9 to take a 106-78 lead with 2:58 to play.
Caron Butler led Washington with 33 points, his third game of 30 or more points. It was the first time the Wizards won by more than 20 twice in a row since December 2004.
“I want to see him against the best players—with the monsters coming in. We’ve got Houston. We’ve got Boston, but who’s looking ahead?” Jordan said.
Washington is 17-15, but hasn’t beaten a team with a winning record since a Dec. 1 victory over Toronto. For the Wizards to prove they’re more than mediocre, Jordan and some of his veteran players know they need to see something more.
“There are some things I’m not pleased about with my bench,” Jordan said.
Antawn Jamison, who had 21 points and 12 rebounds, echoed his coach.
“When you’re young, you need the least amount of distractions possible,” Jamison said. “We’re not satisfied with the growth. This is a veteran team. This is not a young team where you can just go out and play ball. Before the game, we need those guys focused.
“We can ill-afford to take any games off.”
Butler finished 12-of-21 from the field, hitting three 3-pointers and making all six of his free throws. He had five assists, four steals and four rebounds.
He scored 16 points in the first half, but was disturbed by what he saw in the locker room.
“You could see some of the guys were in here comfortable and confident with the lead we had,” Butler said.
(Jordan) set the tone at halftime. We have a tendency to come out a little relaxed when we have leads.”
Antonio Daniels had 13 points and 10 assists for the Wizards.
Before the game, Seattle coach P.J. Carlesimo was worried about the game’s early start and jitters from his two homecoming starters. Kevin Durant, a Washington native who was the second pick in June’s NBA draft and Jeff Green, a Georgetown product from nearby Cheverly, Md., combined to shoot 11-for-34. Durant finished with 19 points, but Green had only eight.
“We have to be ready to play right away,” Carlesimo said. “We can’t come in casually, get warmed up and then turn it up.”
Durant, who spent Saturday watching his brother Tony play for Maryland’s Towson University at George Mason, wasn’t pleased with his first professional start at home.
“I don’t want to say I was pressing,” Durant said. “I think I was taking quality shots—shots I normally take throughout the game. Wide-open shots from the corner, I was missing, and going to the rim and missing layups.”
Washington had a season-high 15 steals. … Seattle F Chris Wilcox missed the game with a dislocated right little finger. Carlesimo said Wilcox was unlikely to play in the final two games of the four-game road trip. … Injured Wizards G Gilbert Arenas celebrated his 26th birthday on Sunday. … Rookie F Oleksiy Pecherov, who’s yet to play this season due to a fracture in his left ankle, hopes to step up his workouts this week, and thinks he can play within two weeks.