PHILADELPHIA — Scott Brooks tempers his words and emotions as well as any coach can be expected to when his team, which had playoff aspirations entering the season, is 2-8.
And that's even after the Wizards gave up 109 points in a loss to a one-win team in the Sixers, who have been the by far the league's worst in the past three years.
Brooks, in his first season in Washington, chalked up Wednesday's loss in one word: Effort. Randy Wittman, who was fired at the end of a 41-41 season in 2015-16, mentioned it often.
"They outplayed us in that first half," Brooks said of his team trailing 47-23 before making a run to trim it to 59-48 by halftime.
"There was a 12-minute period that we showed no resistance and it's unacceptable. ... That 12-minute stretch put us in the hole and we couldn't get out of it."
There are some eye-catching stats that speak to how the Sixers leveled the playing field on their way to leveling the Wizards: 50-38 edge in paint points, 54.5% field-goal shooting and 15-15 in transition. The Wizards were held to 15 points in the first quarter alone, a season low for a Sixers opponent in any period.
"The only way you win in this league is by giving maximum effort every time down the court, both ends of the floor," Brooks said. "There's some teams that can relax a psossession here and there because they've got mutliple All-Stars. We don't have that. We've got to play with maximum effort each time down the court otherwise it puts too much pressure on every possession to score. It's tough to do that. It's still early. I'm not down but I want some urgency. I have to find guys that are going to do that each time we put them in the game. It has to mean something."
Wittman woldn't be so diplomatic. He never hesitated to call his team "soft" for this kind of performance -- something he did mutliple times which ultimately led to his undoing. Brooks is more cognizant of trust betweeen players and coaches, but the underlying theme despite his new style compared to Wittman's traditional old-school approach.
Brooks spoke highly of Marcus Thornton, who came off the bench in the first half while Sheldon McClellan started in place of Bradley Beal (right hamstring). Thornton began the third quarter with the starting uint.
"I give Marcus a lot of credit. He battled. He competed. That's what you want. In this game, it's not a game of perfection.... It's a game of effort. He missed some shots but he played hard," Brooks said. " He blew up screens. He fought through screens, he chased down loose balls. He was running off his cuts. That's what you have to do. We have to figure out how we can get all of our guys doing that."