WASHINGTON (AP) — Drew Gooden scored his first points of the season and had his first double-digit game since April 2012. Andre Miller tallied his most assists since December. Al Harrington played his most minutes since November.
The Washington Wizards turned to the thirty-something brigade Wednesday night in their 104-91 win over the Utah Jazz. Thirty-two-year-old Gooden, 37-year-old Miller and 34-year-old Harrington – who’ve all been away from the game for long stretches until recently – were a strong supporting cast that padded a lead in the second quarter and helped hold onto it in the fourth.
“We had the AARP group in there,” Washington coach Randy Wittman said. “That was doing pretty good.”
Trevor Ariza scored 26 points, Bradley Beal added 22, John Wall had 14 points and 10 assists, and Marcin Gortat had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Wizards, who have won seven of eight.
But look further down the box score. Gooden was 6 for 7 from the field and finished with 12 points. Not bad for a player who had been idle since being amnestied last summer and is playing on a 10-day contract.
“Taking that much time off really tests your professionalism,” Gooden said. “Staying in shape, waking up every day on your own schedule.”
Now he’s getting his legs under him – and just in time. His 10-day deal expires Friday, but the fact that the Wizards finally put his name above his locker on Tuesday gives him hope that they’ll ask him to stick around.
“I’ve got a nameplate,” he said, “so that gave me a little incentive that I might be here.”
When Gooden scored four quick baskets in the second quarter, three of the assists came from Miller. Miller was acquired in a trade deadline deal two weeks ago from the Denver Nuggets, who had benched him since New Year’s Day for getting into an argument with the coach.
Then there’s Harrington, who recently returned from a three-month layoff following surgery on his right knee. His driving dunk restored a double-digit lead early in the fourth quarter.
“They outsmart people,” the 28-year-old Ariza said. “They know they’re a little bit older, so they use their wisdom a little better than a lot of us do. I said ‘us’ because I’m still young compared to them.”
Alec Burks scored 19 points, and Trey Burke added 14 to lead the Jazz, who have dropped the first four games of their six-game road trip. Their 7-24 road record is the worst in the Western Conference.
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Caps Lose, 6-4
DAN GELSTON AP Sports Writer
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek each had two goals, and Michael Raffl and Steve Downie also scored to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a 6-4 win over the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night.
The Flyers chased Washington goalie Braden Holtby after taking a 4-0 lead early in the second period. Holtby was replaced by Philipp Grubauer for the rest of the game – and could face some competition the rest of the season. The Capitals acquired Jaroslav Halak from Buffalo for backup goalie Michal Neuvirth and defenseman Rostislav Klesla at the NHL trade deadline earlier in the day.
Philadelphia Flyers’ Michael Raffl, right, of Austria, and Adam Hall, center, celebrate after Raffl’s goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals, Wednesday, March 5, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Alex Ovechkin, Joel Ward and Troy Brouwer nearly rallied the Capitals with three straight goals in the third. Brooks Laich also scored.
Both teams turned back the clock with an all-lines brawl in the first period that saw Washington’s John Erskine and Philadelphia’s Vincent Lecavalier get tossed.
Philadelphia’s Luke Schenn drilled Ryan Stoa into the boards, then was confronted by Tom Wilson. Wilson, who earned a 10-minute misconduct, fought Schenn while the rest of the lines went at it near the corner boards.
Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds tried to pull off Erskine, allowing Lecavalier to get in a free shot.
The crowd went wild and helmets littered the ice during the brawl that finally ended with the Flyers short-handed.
The Flyers killed the penalty – and continued to dominate Washington. After three periods, the Flyers had outshot them 23-8.
The ended the first period up 2-0. Sean Couturier freed the puck after a clean hit on Jack Hillen along the boards, and Giroux pounced for his first goal. Voracek scored less than 2 minutes later on a power-play goal, firing from the top of the circle.
Mike Green’s turnover early in the second led to Giroux’s unassisted goal and Hall’s fifth goal of the season came on a deflection for a 4-0 lead.
That was all for Holtby, who allowed four goals on 18 shots.
The Capitals, just outside the playoff picture at the moment, nearly pulled off an amazing comeback. Ward made it 4-1, Ovechkin scored his 44th goal after the Flyers failed to clear the puck, and Brouwer fired a perfect pass from Hillen past Steve Mason to make it a one-goal game. The Capitals took 12 shots on goal in the first 11 minutes, forcing Flyers coach Craig Berube to call timeout.
Voracek gave the Flyers a needed cushion when he raced down the slot and pounded the puck past Grubauer for the 5-3 lead.
Laich deflected the puck past Mason with 6 minutes left in the game to make it 5-4. But they could never score the tying goal.
Downie capped the scoring with an empty-netter.
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