As the Wizards were trying to hold on to a lead they'd built vs. the Houston Rockets, after erasing a 15-point deficit, Jared Dudley sat and watched the meltdown in the fourth quarter. He was a major part of the comeback but didn't log a minute after the third.
"A little bit surprising but you know what? It happened (vs.) Phoenix and we won the game," Dudley said Thursday, before the team departed for a four-game road trip that begins at the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday, of coach Randy Wittman's decision. "I thought I played well in the third quarter. It happens through the course of the game. To me it's not that big of a deal."
That's because the Wizards (9-11) had their chances. Gary Neal had a three-pointer go most of the way down in the basket and then pop out. It could've given them a seven-point lead but instead James Harden led his team back.
Dudley had two three-pointers to start the third quarter and a strip of Harden that led to Otto Porter's uncontested layup. The Wizards' mood appears to be lagging after last winning consecutive games Nov. 21.
Wittman labeled his team "soft" for how they began the first quarter again. John Wall disagreed again. Bradley Beal, who shot 5-for-15 and had seven turnovers, seems miserable -- again.
Dudley did his best to explain what's going wrong with the Wizards. Again.
"Some of the normal stuff you would do with player personnel, you might have to change for him," Dudley said of Harden who was 4 of 5 in the first quarter and had 19 of his 42 points by halftime. "He's so aggressive going to the basket. ... We did a bad job with that.
"What made it so easy for him was on the picks he got through the middle and it was basically (the defense) was like Moses parting the (Red) Sea. That's when the lobs are coming so you have to respect them even though they're struggling kind of like us being inconsistent they have the personnel so when they play well they can beat you."
It gets back to what Dudley observed when he first joined the Wizards. The locker room
We have to hold each other accountable. Getting beat down like (by) Indiana hitting where they're a lot of threes with intensity high, I'm fine with that. But I just felt like they were getting too many dunks. It was too easy early on," Dudley said. "For me, I have to be more vocal when it comes to in the locker room, when it comes to on the court.
"As players, we're supposed to keep each other accountable."