Finally, the Wizards paid for their mistakes when it comes to poor ball security and defense to start the season. And a team that they've dominated in the last two seasons, the New York Knicks, ruined their home opener.
“We just didn’t guard anybody," said Bradley Beal, who had a team-high 26 points. "We were letting guys catch the ball too easily. We were just letting them do whatever they wanted offensively. One hundred and seventeen are way too many points. ... One, we had too many turnovers and two, we didn’t guard anybody. In order for us to win, we have to defend.”
The Wizards won their first two games by getting away with 18 turnovers that produced 15 points for the Orlando Magic and 21 turnovers that the Milwaukee Bucks converted into 20 points. New York scored 19 points off of the Wizards' 19 turnovers in a 117-110 victory.
John Wall's take on what happened was slightly different than coach Randy Wittman, who was particularly unhappy with the defensive effort. They couldn't figure out how to slow down Carmelo Anthony, who had a game-high 37 points, and allowed 14 second-chance points.
"We had one guy that made tough shots. I think we could have done a better job of not giving up too many second-chance points but we were doing our job. When he got hot he got hot," Wall said. "When he gets hot he makes tough shots. I think we were competing but he just made some tough shots and some good shots. These guys are professional athletes just like we are. They work on their game to make shots down the stretch. We make some and they make some."
The top of the Wizards' schedule is difficult, and the teams coming up are of much better quality than what they've seen so far. The San Antonio Spurs are here Wednesday and then there's a Friday-Saturday back-to-back at the Boston Celtics and home vs. the Atlanta Hawks. Then a few days after that come the Oklahoma City Thunder.
"We have tough battle this week. We have a really tough schedule coming up," Beal said. "Unless we want to get beat by 20, we have to take care of the ball and play defense. ... We have to be ready to go and if we’re not, we are going to get blasted.”