Taking undermanned or downtrodden opponents for granted has been a long-standing problem for the Wizards, and losing tonight's game with the Brooklyn Nets would put an abrupt end to any hopes of sneaking into the playoffs. For John Wall, that all falls on the players (CSN, CSNmidatlantic.com and NBC Sports Live Extra, 6:30 p.m. ET).
The Wizards (37-40) must win their last five just to have a legitimate shot of being a No. 8 seed, and though they beat Brooklyn by 15 in their only meeting it promises nothing while the Nets have shut down Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young for the season.
"It's about effort. That's all it is in my opinion. Following the game plan we have and guard your man one-on-one. That's it," said Wall as the Wizards play at Verizon Center for the first time since March 25. "When you don't have pick-and-rolls and stuff, it's about guarding your man one-on-one and when you do get guys to miss shots, got to get the rebound. We don't go a great job of rebounding the ball at times. We get in bad situations where we give up wide-open threes and wide-open layups and on the other end it's tough for us to get those."
The last time the Wizards were at home, they blew a late lead and lost in double-overtime to the Minnesota Timberwolves. They've had terrible home losses to the N.Y. Knicks and L.A. Lakers also and went 2-3 on a West coast trip when they fell to the 29-win Sacramento Kings who scored 120.
"We're a team that can score. That's something we had problems with in the past. We couldn't score. So we had to defend so well. Now we can score a little bit we don't defend as well," said Wall, referring to the previous two playoff runs and even the 29-win season in 2012-13 when they still were a top 10 scoring defense. "That's why we got the record we have. We can't outscore people. We try to outscore certain teams and it never pans out that way. We always end up losing those games. When we don't try to outscore these teams that can score the ball very well and we defend, we win those games. Simple as that because it keeps going back and forth all season."