This didn't look like the same team that had held three consecutive opponents to less than 100 points. The Wizards, confused by the L.A. Clippers on both ends, had two left feet in a 17-point home loss that overshadowed Otto Porter's rebirth after a left thigh bruise derailed his season.
Chris Paul was unstoppable as he had 23 points in just 27 minutes. DeAndre Jordan was 6-for-6 (all dunks) as he was set up with lobs and entry passes that found him unguarded.
"It was more communication, making it tough on Paul. He was just getting to his spots," Porter said. "We were running into each other on the pick-and-roll when Paul would come off and stuff like that. It was just communication."
Porter had 21 points and eight rebounds, and when the Wizards (14-15) had a real chance early in the third quarter to make a run he was on the floor with Kelly Oubre.
Oubre has started the last five games at small forward while Porter was out. This is the second game in a row that Porter has come off the bench but he logged 33 minutes in Monday's 108-91 loss. Oubre had played 25 minutes in making his fifth start but only had five points.
"We didn't come out with enough energy in the first quarter. That's where we kind of dug ourselves into a hole," Porter said of that 34-20 deficit. "We tried to fight our way back out, fight our way back the whole game. We just didn't have enough."
The consummate team player, Porter isn't going to say that he wants his starting job back. He only lost it because he took a knee into his thigh from Dwight Howard in a game Dec. 9. Porter played through it but his knee gradually stiffened because of the issues he had in his thigh.
Oubre has made a three-pointer in each game he has started. He's 8 of 12 overall. Porter, who was shooting less than 28% from deep when he sat, is 4 of 8 in his last two games.
It's plausible that Porter could be back in the starting lineup Wednesday when they play at the Toronto Raptors. As long as Oubre doesn't fall completely out of the rotation, the Wizards should end up better off as a result because the rookie can contribute and learn behind Porter.
And putting the duo on the floor with Garrett Temple with his defensive prowess and wingspan at 6-6 makes them all better. But they have to convert shots, no matter who the starter is, to make this arrangement work.