The way the Wizards won against the Sacramento Kings caused enough concern for coach Scott Brooks. The decision made by John Wall to take a fallaway jump shot when he had a favorable one-on-one matchup with DeMarcus Cousins sent that game into overtime.
Brooks has made a point to sit down with his backcourt players individually to discuss what has gone wrong.
"He's always an option. We wanted to make sure we got a shot," Brooks said of Bradley Beal, who had a team-high 31 points in that game. "John and I watched some film of the last three minutes of regulation and overtime. A lot of opportunities for him to attack. I thought he might've settled for that shot."
Fast forward two days to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday. The botched pick-and-roll between Wall and Markieff Morris led to a difficult pass back that was almost intercepted. The broken play almost worked out but Otto Porter's recovery of the ball and mid-range shot missed. Instead of 6-11, the Wizards would be no worse than 8-9 if they'd closed better in losing this game as well as the second game of the season at the Memphis Grizzlies.
Now the San Antonio Spurs, who handled them last week 112-100 at Verizon Center, are on tap for Friday (CSN, 8 p.m.). Like with Oklahoma City, Wall and Beal have never won a road game in San Antonio.
"We didn't even talk about the game last night," Beal said after Thursday's practice session before describing what has plagued the Wizards at the end of games when it comes to execution. "We're too comforable, too lackadaisical. I think we got to get back to running our offense. ... I'm sick of hearing we played hard, we played well. We got to win them."
Brooks isn't as concerned about who takes shots when. He wants common-sense plays to be made. Wall is 0-for-16 in his career when taking the shot to win or tie a game with five seconds or less, according to Elias Sports Bureau. Beal is 1-for-4. As a whole, the Wizards are 6-for-47 during Wall's tenure of six-plus seasons.
Some kind of change is needed to get a better result.
"It's definitley something to consider. It's a work in progress for me," Brooks said. "There's definitely going to be opportunities where Brad gets the last shot. With that type of situation I want guys to make the right play. A lot of criticsm for a lot of players throughout the history of the game, 'He doens't take the last shot.' ... 'He takes the last shot.' It's really making the right play. John has a history of doing that and I'm sure Brad will get those opportunities to make the right play. It's also five guys have to be in the right spots. We have to set good screens and deliver a pass if needed. Last-second shots are always about team. You have to trust the guy making the decision."
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