Shakur’s call-up helps Washington pull off upset

Having arrived in Washington from the NBA Development League only a few hours earlier, Mustafa Shakur barely had time to learn any plays, much less the names of his new Wizards teammates, before he was called upon Saturday.

When he checked in against Boston with 4:26 left in first quarter -- making a long-awaited NBA debut after receiving no playing time in three previous stints in the league since going undrafted in 2007 -- Shakur was also staring at a 13-point deficit.

Plus, his jersey was too big and so hastily stitched together that the digits on his No. 22 looked like a pair of No. 2s, and the letters of his name were spelled across his lower back instead of his shoulders.

"I don't know, I think they tried to put my zip code on there," Shakur said. "They, you know, messed it up a little bit."

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But it didn't stop Shakur, signed on a 10-day contract as an emergency replacement for Kirk Hinrich (sprained right elbow), from fitting right in with a subtle but significant impact in Washington's 85-83 upset of the defending conference champions.

"He could've been player of the game," Wizards coach Flip Saunders said. "We were on the ropes. ... Here's a guy coming in that doesn't really know much of our offense and made a couple plays for himself, looked like he belonged out there, was comfortable, defended pretty well and got it to a manageable situation."

With a hand in all of Washington's final nine points of the first quarter, including feeds to Rashard Lewis and Yi Jianlian as well as a fast-break layup of his own with a ball fake reminiscent of Rajon Rondo, Shakur had five points, five assists and a pair of blocks in 10 minutes on the floor.

"It's just an unbelievable feeling, man," Shakur said. "I'm just really ecstatic about everything and happy that I had the opportunity and thankful to be here."

When he received the message Friday night that he had been called up from the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, where he'd been averaging 16.7 points, 5.0 assists and 4.7 rebounds, Shakur thought his agent might be kidding. But even after a sleepless night and a late arrival, he said it wasn't a big deal to make plays in a huge game, given his experience facing many of the same players he had while at Arizona.

"He's a Pac-10 player," Wizards teammate and USC alum Nick Young said. "That's what we do."