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 Wizards coach Ed Tapscott has winning debut

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PostSubject: Wizards coach Ed Tapscott has winning debut   Wed Nov 26, 2008 6:43 pm

WASHINGTON(AP) Ed Tapscott's previous game as a head coach came in 1993 with his daughter's youth league team."We won, but she complained about playing time,'' he said.On
Tuesday night, Tapscott won again, this time in his NBA debut with the
Washington Wizards, who routed the Golden State Warriors and newcomer
Jamal Crawford 124-100 to end a five-game losing streak.And, instead of a complaint from a player, he got a presidential-level compliment."Now
that we got 'Obama' on the sideline with us, we're going to ride with
it,'' forward Caron Butler said. "Tap, he's light-skinned, he stands
for change, he's got a law degree, he uses big words, and he's new in
the district, and he's in control now, so shout out to Obama. We won
tonight; he brought a lot of hope."And he's good with numbers, so hopefully he'll change the economy as well.''The
humor was a welcome relief in a locker room full of players ticked off
that their 1-10 performance to start the season had cost a popular
coach his job. Eddie Jordan was fired Monday and replaced by director
of player development Tapscott, and the team responded with a level of
enthusiasm and hustle not seen earlier in the season."We just
fed off the energy,'' forward Antawn Jamison said. "We knew we had to
get this win. It's been a crazy 24 hours, and we just wanted to stop
the bleeding.''The Wizards notched season highs in points,
rebounds (54), matched their season high in assists (27), and forced a
season-high 20 turnovers as Tapscott experimented with different lineup
combinations and ran more isolation plays and less of Jordan's
Princeton-style attack. Butler scored a season-high 35 points, Jamison
had 25 points and 11 rebounds, and rookie center JaVale McGee added a
season-high 14 points as the Wizards improved to 2-10, avoiding the
worst 12-game start in franchise history.The biggest surprise
was Andray Blatche, Washington's Mr. Inconsistency, who had season
highs with 25 points and 11 rebounds and also matched career highs with
five blocks and five steals."Maybe for him the biggest key is a new voice,'' Jamison said, "a different voice in the locker room.''Defense
was still an issue at times, but the Wizards obeyed Tapscott's demand
to be more physical under the basket, as opposed to the "sieve-like,
letting people go down the lane'' approach he had seen in the team's
previous games. After a big hack by Dominic McGuire in the lane,
Tapscott turned to his bench and said, "That was a hard foul. That's
what we want.''Tapscott's debut overshadowed the night's other new addition.Crawford,
traded by the New York Knicks on Friday, had a quiet evening in his
first game with the Warriors. Despite only one practice with his new
team, he was placed in the starting lineup by coach Don Nelson and had
nine points and seven assists in 29 minutes."I definitely see
where I can fit in,'' Crawford said. "Out here you can't really play
passive, you have to be aggressive, and when you're aggressive, it
opens it up for your teammates. I definitely need to be more aggressive
moving forward.''Corey Maggette scored 17 points to lead the Warriors, who have lost three straight."We
played an inspired team tonight,'' Nelson said. "They outworked us,
outhustled us, outplayed us. They did everything well and we didn't do
very much well at all. Pretty disappointed with the way that my team
played, especially the young players that got an opportunity to play.
They all played very poorly.''Tapscott hadn't been a head coach
since he was working a few neighborhoods down the road at American
University in 1990, but he looked right at home on an NBA bench in his
dark suit, white shirt and blue tie. He warned before the game that
"it's very dangerous to think of quick fixes,'' but he instantly
energized the Wizards - at least for one night - and seemed to take the
victory in stride as he wiped his brow while walking to the tunnel
after the final horn, his NBA record an impeccable 1-0."It's better,'' he said, "than being 0-1.''Notes:
Wizards G Antonio Daniels remains sidelined with a sore right knee. ...
Washington's previous season high in points was 117. ... The Warriors
are 0-2 on their five-game road trip.

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