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.