Lewis is able to provide needed veteran presence

With Nick Young putting up career scoring numbers and John Wall finding his rhythm running the offense, it's easy to overlook Rashard Lewis, who is settling in as a versatile and much-needed veteran presence for the young and rebuilding Wizards.

"I'm just trying to show them how to play the game the right way," Lewis said. "It's not about scoring the most points or filling the stat sheet up. Sometimes it's about sacrificing and making the right pass or the extra pass or grabbing the extra rebound, getting the hustle point in order to try to win ball games."

Up next
Wizards at T'Wolves
When » Thursday, 8 p.m.
Where » Target Center, Minneapolis
TV » Comcast SportsNet
Blatche day-to-day with shoulder injury
A day after spraining his right shoulder in Tuesday's win over the Kings, Andray Blatche said he felt worse but didn't rule himself out of playing against Minnesota.
"If I'm able to get some rotation in it, then I'm going to try to play," Blatche said.
If he can't go, Rashard Lewis said he'll slide to power forward and Al Thornton will return to the starting lineup at small forward.
In coach Flip Saunders' only return to his home state, the Wizards hope to end their 0-18 start to the season on the road. The Timberwolves (9-30) have lost five straight despite an incredible season for Kevin Love (21.1 ppg, 15.8 rpg), who has 25 straight double-doubles and is coming off his seventh game with at least 20 rebounds.
"He has a knack for the ball," Lewis said. "He's not a very athletic guy or can jump high, but he knows how to use his body very well. He's pushes you under the basket, maneuvers you around to get to the ball. He just knows how to use his lower body."

Lewis' scoring average of 13.4 points in 10 games since he joined the Wizards (10-26) last month might not be at his career levels. But it's still better than the 12.2 points he was producing with the Magic before last month's swap for Gilbert Arenas. Lewis' 8.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists are well above the best of any of his 12 years in the NBA.

More important is the calm and collected presence Lewis brings to the huddle. Wall credited him with salvaging what little bit of composure the Wizards were able to maintain during their near-collapse in Tuesday's overtime win against Sacramento.

"He's always talkative," Young said. "He's been through situations and really always got something positive to say. You need somebody like that between Josh [Howard], him and Kirk [Hinrich]."