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Wiz seek solution for consistently inconsistent performances

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Wiz seek solution for consistently inconsistent performances

Game to game, half to half, quarter to quarter. Pick a time frame and the issue remains the same: We don't know what we'll see from the Washington Wizards.

“I don’t know. If I find the answer I’ll let you know," center Marcin Gortat said to reporters about the lack of consistency following Monday's 112-95 loss at Memphis.

There have been slow starts, a key factor in last Wednesday's 109-103 home loss to the Houston Rockets. We've witnessed strong performances from the opening tipoff to the final buzzer with the road victory over Miami on Dec. 7 a prime example. The mid-game surge against the Mavericks fueled Saturday's 114-111 win, but a fourth quarter collapse nearly put the kibosh on downing Dallas. There are surprise wins like the triumph in Cleveland -- and brutal losses like the setback to a two-win Los Angeles Lakers team at home. The Wizards haven't won multiple games in a row since a three-game winning streak from Nov. 14-21.

RELATED: The case for Wizards bringing Beal off the bench

Then we have the recent game at Memphis. Other than Gary Neal's 24 points and a brief fourth quarter surge, this loss stood out because so little worked and that it came right after earning a rare road win in Dallas. Washington never led over the final three quarters and had only 60 points entering the fourth quarter. On the other end, the Grizzlies, one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the NBA, sank 10 of 15 from beyond the arc.

The search for a consistent fix continues.

"I have no idea," Gortat continued. "It’s not like we come out there and we don’t want to play basketball. You know we all want to play basketball. We are all taking the same shots that we take every day in practice or in a game and sometimes they just don’t go in."

Head coach Randy Wittman focused on the defensive side.

"Until we get a commitment to defend...we’re going to be on this roller coaster," he said. Right now we get satisfied with one win. Right now our mindset is to try to outscore people. Our team isn’t made that way. I don’t have enough scorers to say we’re going to go out and not care what they do, we’re going to outscore them. ... Right now, it was an embarrassment from a defensive standpoint.”

Next up for the Wizards, a road game against a team embarrassing plenty of opponents lately. That would be the 21-5 San Antonio Spurs, who have outscored opponents by an average of 28 points during their current three-game winning streak. Tim Duncan and company won't be overlooking the 10-13 Wizards. Quite the opposite seeing as Washington handed San Antonio one of those five losses with a 102-99 victory on Nov. 4

Bradley Beal's last second 3-pointer dumped the Duncan's that night, but the injured guard won't play in Wednesday's matchup. Those that do must put forth an energetic and smart effort to have any shot at winning. No matter the result in San Antonio, finding consistency of a positive nature over the remaining 50-plus games would be the best result of all.

MORE WIZARDS: Grizzlies grind out Wizards 112-95: Five takeaways

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With another low shot total for Otto Porter, Coach Brooks says Porter needs to do more to help himself

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USA Today Sports Images

With another low shot total for Otto Porter, Coach Brooks says Porter needs to do more to help himself

After a night in which Otto Porter Jr. only took nine total shots, just two of them in the second half, many questions from Wizards reporters in the postgame locker room centered on how the team can get him more involved. This came on the heels of a seven-shot, zero-three outing for Porter against the Heat on Thursday and a preseason in which getting him more attempts was a persistent storyline.

It sounds like some are tired of talking about it. Point guard John Wall, who is part of the equation as the team's main distributor and highest usage player, put it in relatively strong terms.

"This will be the last time I talk about Otto Porter getting threes," Wall said. 

Wall went on to explain how it's a combination of defenses taking away the three-point line for Porter and the flow of the game creating better shots for others. It's a common explanation Wall has given on the matter in recent weeks, and it's understandable.

Head coach Scott Brooks has admitted his own role in Porter not getting enough shots, how more plays could be called for the small forward. But after the loss to Toronto, one in which Porter played just south of 25 minutes, he was a bit more blunt in his assessment.

Brooks believes Porter can be doing a lot more to help himself.

"Gotta get yourself open," Brooks said. 

When asked about Porter playing fewer minutes than usual, Brooks went on about the need for guys to play hard. That warranted a follow-up, as it seemed Brooks was questioning Porter's hustle.

Brooks explained what he meant by that in detail.

"You've got to move. You've got to set yourself up. You've got to run the floor. We got a fast point guard. I don’t know if you guys know that but he’s fast and if our wings aren’t running, what good is it when you’re going to have a one-man break? What makes teams play with pace is guys running." 

"I love Otto. You guys know that. But he has to play faster. He has to. Physically, he’s not going to jump over anybody and dunk over everybody, but he has to get himself into position. He’s a big-time player for us. He’s a glue guy. He makes winning basketball plays. He gets in plays but he has to do that consistently for us. He can’t do it for a half. He has to do it for the entire game. The guy can do it. I’ve seen it. He didn’t do it tonight but he’s going to bounce back. He didn’t do it the first two games but he’s going to bounce back and do it. And we need it.”

Porter, 25, was the Wizards' most efficient player last season, but averaged only 11.5 shots per game. With one of the best three-point shots in the NBA, the numbers suggest he should have a larger role.

The Wizards insist they are trying to get him more involved. In their eyes, it's time for Porter to do his part.

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Bradley Beal honored to pass Gilbert Arenas on all-time three-pointer list

Bradley Beal honored to pass Gilbert Arenas on all-time three-pointer list

Saturday night produced a link between some of the best players in recent Wizards/Bullets franchise history.

With a fourth-quarter three, Bradley Beal surpassed Gilbert Arenas on the franchise list for career triples

Beal, an All-Star last season, has already established himself as one of the best to play for Washington in decades. Afterwards, he paid homage to the man whose record he broke.

"I was always a fan of Gil. He was Agent Zero," Beal told NBC Sports Washington. 

"I loved everything about him; his confidence, his swagger on the floor. Granted, everyone talks about his off-the-court stuff, but what he did on the court is just untouchable. It's untouchable. He's a legend, for sure. Part of me wishes I could have played with him and just learned from him in a lot of ways. That's an accomplishment for me. I'm happy I was able to surpass it because he is a legend, in my opinion anyway."

Arenas' tenure with the Wizards was epic for its highs and lows. At his peak, he was arguably the most dangerous scorer in the NBA. But his downfall both on the court and off has left him as a notorious figure in the game's recent history.

John Wall, who has assisted on many of Beal's three-pointers, played with Arenas back in the 2010-11 season as a rookie. He is happy for his current teammate, who now has a distinct place in the team's history books.

"He's probably the best shooter I've ever played with in my eyes, so it's great to see him accomplish that," Wall said. "He's going to keep setting the bar higher and higher."

Beal passed Arenas in just the second game of his seventh NBA season. He's only 25 years old, so odds are he will keep adding to his franchise record for many years to come.

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