Tapscott Can't Find Right Motivation; Third Quarter Again a Problem

Article excerpt

Byline: Jan Hubbard, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

DALLAS -- When former Washington coach Dick Motta coached the 1980-81 Mavericks expansion team, the players were having a particularly poor night. By halftime, Motta was steamed.

In the hallway leading to the locker room, he walked past the halftime entertainment - a Bengal tiger and a professional trainer.

Motta asked the trainer to bring the tiger in the locker room, where the coach confronted the players and told them they'd better start rebounding or he was going to let the tiger loose.

Ed Tapscott can relate. For the second consecutive night, he watched as his team was mauled in the third quarter, and the result was the fifth straight loss for the Wizards, who fell to the Mavericks 119-103.

One night after suffering a 22-point loss to the Spurs, Caron Butler returned to the Wizards lineup after missing three straight games with a sore left hamstring. With Butler back in the lineup, the Wizards were in control for much of the first two quarters and were in a 51-51 tie at halftime.

But the Mavericks went on a 9-0 run midway through the period to take a 10-point lead into the fourth, and that deficit was too much for the Wizards to overcome.

Tapscott was perplexed by the poor third-quarter efforts.

I said, 'Guys, we are obviously doing something wrong in terms of our warmups because we come out and it's fairly even game,'" he said. It's right there at half. Then immediately we're down five or six, but another [9-0] run and you're down 12. We just cannot afford those types of deficits.

Antawn Jamison led the Wizards with 24 points and 11 rebounds, and Butler had 20 points and nine rebounds. Butler was uncertain that he could play before the game but then went out and played 42 minutes. …