Before Randy Wittman could answer the first question about Saturday, when he arrived in the second quarter of the home opener vs. the New York Knicks because he attended the funeral of Flip Saunders, there was a long pause.
"It was a tough day," he said. What followed was a pause of almost 30 seconds and by the time his bowed head raised up his eyes were red and watery. It wasn't because the Wizards lost 117-110 to the New York Knicks, though the fashion in which they lost was angering enough, but he'd buried his mentor.
"That aside we just got to get back. The commitment to defend is not there. You can make a lot of excuses but to score 110 points at home and lose by seven, that's what it boils down to. We're not committed right now. I've got to change that. We've got to change our mind-set. We talk a lot about offense and what we're doing and stuff but we got to get back to that. I can't come in at halftime and we were talking more about what we're doing offensively and we gave up 59 points. Our mind-set needs to change. That's the bottom line."
Carmelo Anthony hit every big shot down the stretch for the Knicks en route to a game-high 37 points. Langston Galloway's three-pointer with 63 seconds left pushed the lead to 111-106 and the Wizards couldn't recover.
"Carmelo is a hell of a player. He's a big part of what they do and he made some tough shots and that's going to happen," said Wittman. "They made some plays down the stretch and we didn't. Galloway hit a couple big ones and Carmelo hit a big one at the shot clock. ... It doesn't boil down to the last couple of minutes."
Wittman returned from Minnesota, where he coached with Saunders, for his services. Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld attended, too. Saunders, who died of lymphoma last weekend, coached the Wizards from 2009-11 before Wittman took over.
"I was there most of the day. I left early this morning and got my time with the family," said Wittman, who was asked if he considering not coaching at all Saturday. "You know what? Flip would've wanted me to coach. He wouldn't want me to miss a game based on him. I can guarantee you that. I had a good day with the family."