The Wizards did something on Wednesday night they often do, they lost to a team with a record much worse than theirs.
With a 113-99 loss to the Hawks, the Wizards now have more losses to sub-.500 teams (10) than they did all of last season, despite the fact they have played just 35 games.
It has happened enough to produce a familiar refrain and the Wizards have become conscious of repeating themselves.
"I keep telling it. It’s like a broken record," head coach Scott Brooks said. "We’ve gotta put a stop to it."
"It’s definitely frustrating," guard Bradley Beal said. "You don’t want to be insane about it and keep thinking it’s going to change when we keep going back to the same routine."
The Wizards (19-16) lost to the Atlanta Hawks, owners of the NBA's worst record at 9-25, and did so just two days after beating the Boston Celtics on Christmas Day, yet it was not surprising. The Wizards have followed a pattern this season of playing well against good teams and poorly against bad ones.
Their 10-6 record against teams at .500 or better is the best in the Eastern Conference. Their 10 losses against sub-.500 teams lead the NBA.
After these types of losses, the Wizards preach effort and team defense, making the extra pass and focus for a full 48 minutes. On Wednesday, Beal offered a new theory.
"We were too selfish on offense and defense. Plain and simple," he said. "We are so consumed with thinking about stuff that shouldn’t matter during a game instead of winning the game. That trumps everything else."
Beal didn't go into details and didn't name names. He could have been referring to himself as part of a group or to others. He likely means players are chasing stats and not holding up their end on defense.
What it says more than anything is that Beal is starting to hold others accountable to a different degree. He is one of the leaders in the locker room and clearly is not pleased. Perhaps it will take guys like him and John Wall calling people out for something to change. Though, it should be noted, that they didn't play well either against Atlanta. Beal had 20 points and six rebounds, but shot 36.8 percent. Wall had a double-double with 10 points and 11 assists, but shot 3-for-9 and was a -16.
The Wizards remain in solid shape, all things considered. They are fifth in the Eastern Conference and a game out of fourth place. But they know their inconsistency is not sustainable if they want to accomplish the goals they set out for.
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