Published April 04, 2010
WASHINGTON (AP) — Andray Blatche had 20 points, a career-high 13 assists and nine rebounds, and the Washington Wizards beat the New Jersey Nets 109-99 on Sunday night in a matchup of two of the NBA's worst teams.
Blatche's performance overshadowed a game between two clubs with a combined record of 34-119. He missed 13-of-18 shots from the field, but hit all 10 of his free throw attempts.
Washington had six players in double figures. Mike Miller had 17 points and a season-high 13 rebounds. Nick Young, Shaun Livingston and Cartier Martin had 16 points and JaVale McGee scored 14.
Brook Lopez and Devin Harris led New Jersey with 22.
The Wizards broke a franchise-record, nine-game home losing streak with just their second win in their last 19 games. Washington beat the Nets on Feb. 28, and promptly dropped 16 straight — their longest skid ever.
The Nets know something about losing. New Jersey began the season with an 18-game losing streak, and on Wednesday, the Wizards concluded their 16-game slide. According to STATS LLC., it was the first time two teams with such lengthy losing streaks met since March 19, 1998.
New Jersey had won four of its previous six games to reach 11 wins — avoiding the ignominy of the worst record in NBA history. The Nets were coming off Saturday's 115-87 home victory over New Orleans.
Quickly, the Nets found out how difficult it is for them to win two nights in a row. Washington led throughout, and by the time 1:54 was left in the first quarter, Blatche had eight assists — one more than his career high.
The Wizards led 78-60 with 2:35 to play in the third quarter, but New Jersey went on a 21-7 run to cut the lead to 85-81 with 7:22 remaining.
It's been a bizarre season for Blatche. In January, he was suspended for a game because he complained that not enough plays were being run for him. By mid-February, after much of the team was traded, he became the senior Wizard and the go-to guy. After averaging 22 points since the trades, he incurred the wrath of coach Flip Saunders, who benched him on March 23 for not listening to Saunders' pleas to play better defense.
As usual with Blatche, there was some additional drama. With 1.6 seconds left in the third quarter, he was fouled and he mouthed off to referee Ken Mauer and was assessed a technical foul.
He missed the triple-double when he was called for a foul instead of a rebound in the final seconds, but did eclipse 1,000 points for the first time in his five-season career.
NOTES: It was the first time Washington scored 100 points in 20 games. ... The Nets have lost five straight to the Wizards and dropped all four games to Washington this season — the first time they've been swept by the Wizards since the 1987-88 season. ... Washington played without F Al Thornton, who missed his sixth straight game with a right hip flexor and G Quinton Ross, out with a bruised back. ... G Cedric Jackson, who was signed to a 10-day contract on Wednesday, became the 24th player for the Wizards this season — a team record. He had did not score in six minutes. ... The attendance was 10,112 — lowest of the season.