Wizards must find way to win close games
Glen Rice didn't do anything to hurt himself when it comes to playing time, and though the rookie doesn't have the accuracy from three-point range like his father that's OK.
With Martell Webster ailing with a left ankle sprain, Rice started in Monday's 75-74 loss to the Denver Nuggets. Rice had seven points on 3 of 9 shooting. He missed all but one of his five three-point attempts.
He'd gotten the word at practice that morning that he'd start. With Bradley Beal (right fibula), Nene (right foot) and Al Harrington (right knee) also out and fellow rookie Otto Porter still needing time to get into game shape since coming back from his right hip flexor strain, the Wizards need a spark from somewhere.
Their best chance appears to be Rice. Before playing 29 minutes, he only had appeared in eight games but most of that was mop-up duty. He hadn't played more than five minutes in the last month. For the season, he's shooting 6-for-24, including 3-for-13 from three.
"This is their chance to show that, one, they belong at this level. I didn't want to play Glen and Otto together being two young rookies not really playing yet in the league," Wittman said of his decision to start Rice and vary his rotation. "That's kind of why I moved Glen up to play with the more veteran guys and bring Otto off the bench."
Even if Webster is able to return Friday, when the Wizards travel to play the Atlanta Hawks, Rice should at least see his time increase, relatively speaking. He can impact the game without having to always score and maybe his shooting touch will improve with the experience.
He stole an inbounds pass by Andre Miller with 17 seconds left, denying the entry to Randy Foye. It was one of three steals for Rice.
"We got the steal. We knew we had another shot to win the game. Shots didn't fall," Rice said.
That happened when he fed a streaking John Wall, who missed a layup that could've given Washington (9-11) the lead and the victory.
It was the second loss in a row. And the rookie is already giving answers like a seasoned pro.
"We ready to keep fighting. We not going to give up. Shots didn't go in that we would normally make," Rice said. "We had good opportunites. It's something we can live with."