What took place on Wednesday night, a 108-104 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, isn't really that surprising when taking into account the Wizards' identity. Marcin Gortat issued the warning the previous game after the upset the Cleveland Cavaliers on their home floor.
He was correct.
"That's how it is," said Gortat, who had 18 points and 10 rebounds. "You can't get satisfied with one game. That win (Tuesday) doesn't mean a lot if you don't follow up with a win here at home. It happened.
"We kind of played the same way in Cleveland but in Cleveland everything worked out. For us here, that team play us different. They cover us different defensively. We've got to be more focused."
The Wizards never fail to take two steps back after one foot forward, especially at home. They can beat elite teams, or win games in which they are underdogs, but underperform when expectations heighten. Yes, it was a Kobe Bryant farewell tour at Verizon Center and there was a lot of emotion present, but this still was a two-win team.
They made Lakers coach Byron Scott look like Pat Riley. Lou Williams, who isn't known for his defensive prowess, was spoon-fed seven steals.
"Lackadaisical coming out again," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said of his team that led 14-9 until four consecutive turnovers put them in a whole that ballooned to a 19-point deficit in the first half. "Start a game in the first half like this ... it doesn't matter who you're playing in this league you get down 20 very seldom you come back and win. The percentage of that is not very high. We lackadaisically went through throwing the ball all over the place. A lot of them right to them. You spot any team 33 points off your turnovers, we're lucky it was a four-point game with that."
In all, the Wizards had 23 to give the Lakers their third win in 18 games.
"We gave them hope," Wizards guard Garrett Temple said. "We had a letdown coming off the effort we had last night in Cleveland. No way that we should be down 18, 20 points to a team that has 15 losses. It's really a matter of giving a team hope."
It doesn't matter if Trevor Ariza, Al Harrington or Paul Pierce are on the roster, the identity stays the same.
A brief synopsis of the up-and-down disaster last season: A 22-point loss to the Brooklyn Nets at home in which they scored just 80 points; consecutive losses to the Charlotte Hornets including blowing a fourth-quarter lead by only scoring 13 points; consecutive losses to the two worst teams in each conference, the Minnesota Timberwolves and Philadelphia 76ers, and averaging just 79 points in each; a 23-point loss to the Sacramento Kings; and a 37-point loss to the Nets.
What did all of those teams have in common? They were bottom-feeders in a 46-win season for the Wizards that should've exceeded 50-plus.
The Wizards are headed back down this path, with losses this season to the Lakers, the New York Knicks and a pair of embarrassing blowout losses to the Boston Celtics.
The wins against the Cavs, Milwaukee Bucks (twice), Detroit Pistons and San Antonio Spurs suddenly don't mean anything. If the Wizards can put together a winning streak where they win 12 of 15 instead of losing at the same rate like last season, then there can be cause for optimism.
Otherwise this is another Jekyll and Hyde regular season, with a No. 5 seed for the postseason, a first-round upset that raises hopes and a second-round elimination that's as sure as Ramon Sessions missing a layup or Gortat being called for an illegal screen.
MORE WIZARDS: FIVE TAKEAWAYS FROM THE WIZARDS LOSS