This stretch of four games in five days was supposed to be a telling stretch for the Wizards, who had a relatively easy schedule until the past week. Regardless of the result of tonight's game vs. the Toronto Raptors, after being routed 111-78 by the Boston Celtics the answer is crystal clear. They're not serious contenders.
"Right now, we’re a team that’s solely based on, we play hard and we played good when the ball’s going in," coach Randy Wittman said after Friday's game when his team was held to a season-low in points scored in Boston. "First quarter, they were 22% at one of the timeouts and it just sucks the energy out of us. You can’t play that way. You’re going to go through stretches when you don’t make shots. You got to fight to keep yourself alive at that time. We’re giving into that right now. We lose all our energy."
They're 0-3 in this stretch and have lost by an average margin of 21.3 points.
"We are running what we are calling. We’re playing the way they tell us to play," said center Marcin Gortat, who had just four on 1-for-8 shooting, nine rebounds and four assists. "We just not executing right. One guy's not going to cut, one guy’s not going to set a screen, one guy’s not going to dive, one guy’s not going to roll, you’re going to pass (up) an open shot. Just a lot of little details that when they combine together you getting punked by 40. That’s what happens."
For his part, John Wall was despondent throughout the game. He had just 10 points and six assists in 29 minutes. The Wizards (6-7) were manhandled on the boards with a 58-46 disadvantage in rebounding, including 19-13 offensively. Including their 1-for-20 shooting in the fourth quarter in a previous loss to the Charlotte Hornets, the Wizards are 28 of 104 (27%) in the last five quarters.
"We made adjustments to our defense. We're still behind on it," Wall said of the confusion. "You're giving up offensive rebounds and open shots and teams are making them. We're not making shots. It's tough to get out of a hole and it gets frustrating."
When the open-floor offense produced wins against teams like the San Antonio Spurs, there was no mention of what happened in training camp. Now with a second three-game losing streak in which they've shown little defensive resistance, and with Gortat, Kris Humphries (zero points) and Otto Porter (six points) appearing to be regress, that's back in focus.
"Last year we already knew what we were doing offensively so the whole training camp and whole preseason we were just focused on defense," Wall said of the turnaound from a top-10 scoring defense to one that gives up easy baskets. "The whole training camp we didn't really talk about defense."
Wittman simplified the coverages and it produced a three-game winning streak for the Wizards. Apparently, they've still got a long way to go.
“The only way you’re going to get through a tough spell like this is to keep working," Wittman said. "We got to work. You got to come out before the game and shoot. You got to come before practice and shoot. If you’re struggling, you got to work.
“It’s not all about practice. It’s all based on losing our effort because the shots aren’t going in. You can’t practice that.”
MORE WIZARDS: Celtics trounce Wizards once again 111-78