The Brooklyn Nets started four players that normally come off the bench last night, giving multiple bench players their season-high in minutes played in a 106-101 victory over the Washington Wizards. No player played more than backup center and former Wizards forward Andray Blatche, who started for the eighth time this year and played a season-high 38 minutes in the win.
Despite Blatche’s solid play against his former squad, Nets interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo was concerned about stretching Blatche out that much, citing his conditioning as an issue.
“Dray was the only (player) I felt bad about (playing so many minutes), and frankly, he needs conditioning,” Carlesimo said. “So I thought it was okay. He needs some conditioning. … We kept saying, we could’ve put MarShon back in and played Toko at 4 and played small. It wouldn’t have bothered me to do that.
“But we just thought Dray was going good, and the conditioning was good for him.”
Blatche finished the night with 20 points and 12 rebounds, shooting 9-21 from the field. Though he made some big plays down the stretch — including scoring through contact to put the Nets up for good with under a minute left — he admitted that playing so many minutes wasn’t something he was accustomed to.
“I mean it’s surprising when you play 37 minutes, compared to playing 12,” Blatche said after the game, before stammering a bit: “It caught me off — I mean, it wouldn’t catch me off — it did, it did catch me off guard.
“When you play 12 minutes, then you go out there for 37… it caught me a little bit.”
Blatche, who was exiled from Washington via the amnesty clause after numerous brush-ups with the law and the franchise, again reiterated that the win matters just a little more than others.
“(Winning) meant a lot for me,” Blatche said to laughter from the media.