WASHINGTON -- There are NBA head coaches that meet with media members on game days before or after morning shootaround. Scott Brooks generally isn’t one of them.
He did Tuesday ahead of the Wizards’ home matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers after Washington’s internal squabbles leaked publicly Monday. The Wizards are under the spotlight.
“Obviously, everybody is well aware of some of the reports,” Brooks said.
There was trade buzz Monday morning followed by details on Thursday’s heated practice including the organization fining John Wall for cussing out Brooks.
“Last week definitely was a spirited practice and very intense practice,” Brooks said during a lengthy opening statement. “And looking back at it, like we talked about as it happened, I said some things that I regret. Our players said some things that they regret. And right after the practice, I had a conversation to hash things out, and everything was good. And then some of our players had some conversations, and they hashed things out, and everything was good.”
Until, for the Wizards, it wasn’t.
The team lost back-to-back home games, trailing by hefty margins in both. The barrage of reports came the morning after Sunday’s 119-109 loss to Portland.
“Unfortunately, things get out there,” Brooks said of the reports, which included multiple verbal altercations among teammates. “You always talk about keeping everything in but like I said, I’ve been in this league for a long time and when you have the start that you have, I should get criticized and I understand that. I have thick skin and I can handle that.”
“What happened in practice happened in practice,” Bradley Beal said. “Practice is closed. Practice is not a public thing. It got heated. You guys know that. Practice, I mean it's happened in this organization and every organization around the league. High school, college, it happens.”
Wall joined Brooks and Beal with largely explaining away the incident as something of a normal occurrence over an NBA season. Unfortunately, for the Wizards, the defensive struggles in their latest losses are also par for the course this season. The point guard didn’t blame the losses on the practice blowout.
“It wasn’t nothing to do with that, because we had a great practice after that,” Wall said. “We had great shootaround and we just didn’t come out and play well. We didn’t make shots, we didn’t move the ball, we didn’t defend. You can try to translate it to that, but we already know when we don’t play defense and don’t make threes, we’re a terrible team, and we showed that the last two games.”
As for the fine, Wall said simply, “I wasn’t worried about it. I knew it was coming.”
Who knows what’s coming from this team Tuesday and beyond. The Wizards believe they can turn around the season, or at least aren’t publically showing a level of desperation that suggests otherwise. If trades aren’t coming, the fix must come from within.
“You see that we’re not winning. Everyone is frustrated. At the end of the day, we have to be able to communicate with each other so we can learn from it and try to build on things together,” Porter said. “That’s the only way we can start winning games, to rally with each other instead of against each other.”
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