After Monday’s Game 4 loss to the Atlanta Hawks to even the series at 2, the Wizards reverted to old habits that dogged them throughout a 46-win regular season that was riddled with inconsistency and occasional turmoil. Namely, the inability to make Marcin Gortat a factor in the middle.
The dives to the basket after getting passes from John Wall in pick-and-roll sets have subsided. Ramon Sessions, who has replaced Wall in the starting lineup since he broke his left hand and wrist in Game 1, doesn’t produce the same results.
Gortat had just three points in the 106-101 loss, his only field goal coming in the final three minutes on a tip-in. Gortat missed his share of chip shots and botched a lob, but with so many jumpers being taken –- and going in early as the Wizards made 10 of 15 from three-point range in the first half –- he never found a groove.
“I thought they did a good job of when we got the ball inside doubling our post,” said Paul Pierce, who had 22 points and made 8 of 13 shots while Sessions attempted 14 and Bradley Beal 25. “We got to do a better job getting Nene the ball to efficient spots where he can score inside. We got do a better job of getting Marcin Gortat the ball inside. He should have more touches than he had tonight. But that’s on us. We’ll look at the tape and figure this out.”
Nene had his second solid game in a row by making 6 of 8 shots for 12 points. But Nene only had three attempts, the same as Gortat, in the first half when the Wizards trailed 65-55.
Drew Gooden wasn’t efficient, either, as he missed 5 of 6 shots. The Hawks made him put the ball on the floor and try to finish on the move.
A concerted effort was made by the Wizards to get inside in the second half and it changed the tone. They trailed by the same deficit as they did at halftime, 85-75, entering the fourth quarter but mounted their comeback with a 22-8 edge in points in the paint.
“We got to get him continually rolling to the basket,” Wittman said of Gortat. “It was just one of those nights. You’re going to have tough nights like that. “