Blatche Starts Despite Opting for the Bench

Forward didn't play at all after refusing to talk D

Wednesday, Mar 24, 2010  |  Updated 8:30 PM EDT
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Blatche Starts Despite Opting for the Bench

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Washington Wizards coach Flip Saunders started Andray Blatche against the Indiana Pacers Wednesday night after he opted not to re-enter Tuesday's game against Charlotte.

Not to let a certain suspended three-time All-Star's Friday sentencing take all the team's headlines, forward and coach clashed in the first quarter. Blatche did not return after the first 7 minutes of the 95-86 overtime loss to the Charlotte Bobcats. Saunders said Blatche didn't want to listen when he tried to talk to him about playing better defense. Saunders said Blatche could have played if he had come to speak with him during the game, but he waited until after the game.

"He didn't want to hear it," Saunders said. "I told him, 'If you don't come and talk, if you don't want to be coached, you're not going to play.' We had coaches go up to him three different times. they said he didn't want to play. Fifteen years, never seen anything like it.

"He can be (mad) at me, whatever, but you never leave your teammates out to dry like that. Not when you've lost 11 games in a row and you've got a chance to win a game. Uncalled for. We'll deal with it."

Saunders had said he doubted Blatche would play Wednesday, but since has said he's ready to move forward.

Blatche's absence became acute when Al Thornton and JaVale McGee fouled out in overtime. The Bobcats went on to outscore the Wizards 13-4 in the extra period.

Saunders said he's never been so disappointed in a player, and he's coached the likes of coach-choker Latrell Sprewell, locker room poison Stephon Marbury and a couple of gun-totin' guards on suspension for the rest of the season.

Blatche has averaged 23.2 points and 9.4 rebounds since the All-Star break. The Wizards have lost 12 straight games.

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