Former Wizard Andray Blatche gets raked by old fans
WASHINGTON -- As Andray Blatche sauntered his way from the court and started making his way into the tunnel, he raised both hands and motioned for the fans to bring it.
Boos rained down. Blatche just smiled.
"I was nervous," he said. "I definitely didn't want to come here and lose. Our guys, we kept our cool, had some big shots, closed it out and got the win."
That's exactly what happened when he checked in with 4:51 left in the first quarter Friday night. The crowd let him have it as soon as his black sneakers touched the floor and proceeded to boo him every time he got his palms on the ball.
Blatche banked in his first shot -- a layup -- and ended up shooting 6-for-11 for 13 points, along with 12 rebounds, in 19 minutes of play.
For someone who wasn't trying to make a big deal about his return to the nation's capital after getting amnestied in the summer, he was in a chipper mood prior to the game. He bounced around the hallways, smiling as he warned up with Joe Johnson. He posed for a few pictures with some old friends.
He was even dancing a bit to the music near the end of the first timeout. There was an obvious pep in his step, this despite him trying to shrug it off earlier as the next contest on the schedule, even though this was against the franchise he said "tried to end me" during a November radio interview.
"The boos didn't affect me at all because I don't play for them," Blatche said. "They're supposed to boo me. They're supposed to go against me. This game was no different than the crowd when we played the Knicks. I was already used to it, so I just basically went out and played. I expected it.
"I knew this was going to happen when I signed with the Nets. I knew when I went to D.C., this was going to happen."
P.J. Carlesimo fawned over Blatche's effort against his old team.
"I thought Andray was unbelievable," the Nets interim coach said. "I probably screwed up by not playing him more than I did. We went with a little bit more experience. He couldn't have given us a much better game. There's a lot of people that would not have been able to handle the situation, the first time back.
"He didn't handle it -- he thrived in it. It was unbelievable. He was great. He gave us defense, he gave us some steals, he gave us some rebounds, he gave us scoring. He did a great job."
Blatche also seemed a bit relieved.
"If you get a win in any situation, it feels good," Blatche said. "It wasn't nothing personal. Hopefully, they can leave me in the past and both parties can just move on. So it's nothing personal toward that team."