When the Wizards hit the court at Verizon Center tonight, Head Coach Eddie Jordan worried about how to match-up against Houston’s inside weapon of Yao Ming, by the fourth quarter he just wondered if there were any centers left on his bench to finish the game as Ming had sent both Brendan Haywood and Etan Thomas to the bench with injuries.
With the two players unavailable, the task of defending Yao first went to seldom-used James Lang and then to Booth, who had played in three games this season. Ming scored 23 of his 38 points in the fourth quarter and made 11 of 12 free throws to offset a sizzling shooting performance by Arenas, who finished with 41 points on 13-of-30 shooting.
“I don’t think anybody has an answer,” Wizards Head Coach Eddie Jordan said. “You have to do the best you can. If you have personnel to look him the eye a little bit, just a little bit, that helps but the guy has an arsenal that I haven’t seen before. He’s as equally dominating on either box. Now you tell me who in the history of the NBA you can say that about?”
“Yao’s got an arsenal that I haven’t seen before,” Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. “He is equally dominating on either box.”‘
The Wizards had two to stay alive in the final minutes of tonight’s game. The first came when Calvin Booth hit a unlikely 3-pointer with 30.7 seconds that left the game within striking distance for Arenas at 110-109, but Yao responded with a fadeaway jumper over Booth for a three-point cushion.
Arenas took the next possession to the left of the court and fired up a three pointer that missed and was rebounded by Houston. Two free-throws by Shane Battier sealed the night for what was one of the most dramatic fourth quarters the Wizards have seen all season long.
Houston also had their injury woes tonight as star Tracy McGrady who scored 28 points left the game in the fourth quarter after landing awkwardly. McGrady who was clutching his lower back as he limped to the Houston locker room. This is similar to the same injury that kept him out for 47 games last season.
Yao Ming Controlled the Wizards Inside and Out With 38 Points, 11 Rebounds and 6 Blocked Shots