Wizards winning without defense

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Allowing 106 points per game is really no way to play - unless you score 107.

That seems to be the theory of the Washington Wizards, who are thriving despite allowing more points than any other team in the NBA.

Washington went 12-4 in December, then opened the new year with a 108-105 victory over Milwaukee on Wednesday night on Gilbert Arenas' 3-pointer as time expired.

The 105 points allowed qualified as a decent night for the Wizards, who are yielding an NBA-high 106.6 per game. But they were scoring 107.7, second only to Phoenix, and figure that's good enough to overcome their deficiencies on the other end.

"You heard Gil say, 'Coach got on us about giving up 106, but we score 107. That looks like a winning team to me,'" Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. "So, what I am supposed to do?"

What he's tried to do is get the Wizards to get interested in defending earlier in the games. Washington did a decent job down the stretch Wednesday to rally for the victory, and Jordan would like to see his players have that type of intensity in the first few minutes, instead of only the last few.

"I think our group tends to think that to get stops late is a key - it is a key - but let's get stops early," Jordan said.

"With our group, I don't know, they may think we don't have to play defense for 42 minutes, but for the last 8 we can win games."

For now, it's tough to argue with the Wizards' logic.

They had a five-game winning streak in December, even though they allowed 115.4 points per game during it. And they say they are committed to defending, when the time is right.

"We're doing a good job in the clutch getting stops when we really need them," Caron Butler said.


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