Yet another game goes by for the Wizards without Marcin Gortat making much of an impact. He's upset with himself for being mostly a non-factor and was more critical of himself than coach Randy Wittman.
"I just try to play the game the right way. I hope the coaching staff will see that," said Gortat, who had 10 points and eight rebounds in Wednesday's 102-99 win vs. the San Antonio Spurs. "I know they’re watching the tape and we spoke about that many times. I just got to wait for my opportunities. ... I’m just playing awful. And to be honest with you, I can’t be mad about anything. I appreciate, actually, that they kept me in the game and they keep throwing me the ball. I’m just in a big black hole right now so I’m just trying to get out of that."
Gortat only attempted two shots in the first half. He picked up two fouls in less than three minutes and had to go to the bench. But his help defense has been a strength in four games as well as his screening to set free John Wall and Bradley Beal on the perimeter.
Gortat's hustle got him down the court got him an easy bucket in the fourth quarter, releasing after Tim Duncan's miss for a dunk. He did it again less than a minute later but missed the layup as the Wizards trailed 90-87.
It goes back to a problem Gortat had last season when he complained about his role in the offense.
"He just need to continue to roll to the basket. His inner point guard self still wants to pop out and shoot jump shots," Wittman said. "Even though he'll tell you he doesn't want to. Harder rolls to the basket. And if it collapses you get kick outs to Brad and Otto (Porter) that get the open 3s and then they start staying home. Brad had it going. Now if March is rolling to the basket he's going to get those opportunities."
Gortat wasn't alone. Kris Humphries remained out of sync and didn't play in the fourth quarter. He had seven points and six rebounds in 23 minutes. Drew Gooden lasted only eight minutes, missing all four shot attempts.
Gortat's struggles, considering how well he looked in the preseason and that he's played in this fast-paced system with the Orlando Magic and Phoenix Suns, are surprising. The Wizards made a concerted effort to get him involved to start the third quarter.
"I’m definitely in shape. Shots are just falling out. There’s nothing going in. I got no explanation," said Gortat, who hasn't scored more than 10 points nor posted a double-double. "If I knew what was going on, I’d let you know. But right now I just got to make shots. I don’t have too many of them but I got to make them. If I make them, I’m going to demand more. That’s how it is."
Beal and Wall are playing so well for the Wizards (3-1), the slow start is going to be overlooked for now.
"It’s not a secret that Brad and John are going to be the number one and two punch on the team," Gortat said. "I was hoping I was going to be the third one, number three, but not right now."