Most of the 16,210 fans were on their way to the Verizon Center exits Saturday night, but the ones who remained gave the Wizards an earful.
When a team is 0-8 and misses seven of its final nine shots from the floor, it’s hard to escape the wrath of your own fans.
“It’s acceptable,” guard Jordan Crawford said after leading the Wizards with 20 points in Saturday night’s 83-76 loss to the Utah Jazz. “We’re 0-8.”
The fact the Wizards are 0-8 for a second straight season is not only depressing; it’s almost historical.
Only one other team in NBA history has started consecutive seasons with eight straight losses. The Memphis Grizzlies did it in 2001 and again in 2002, finishing with the third-worst record in the NBA the first year [23-59] and the fifth-worst record the next [28-54].
With that in mind, several Wizards said their fans have every right to show their displeasure.
“It doesn’t affect us,” guard A.J. Price said. “We’re professionals. But it’s good to know that they care. They want to see us play better. They believe in us. They’re here in the seats, so we need to take that upon our shoulders and want to perform better for them.”
The Wizards went so long without a field goal Saturday night the biggest cheer of the second half came when fans were awarded free chicken sandwiches after Jazz forward Marvin Williams missed a pair of free throws.
While many of the Wizards were not around for last year’s slow start, Trevor Booker was and this is the last thing he expected when the season began.
“It’s definitely tough, especially being here the last couple years and seeing [the struggles] we’ve been through. We just have to hold our heads high and just keep working.”
The fact that the Wizards are off to the worst start in the NBA without injured stars John Wall and Nene is not lost on Wizards coach Randy Wittman. But when those two names were brought up in Saturday’s post-game news conference he stopped the question in its tracks.
“That’s an excuse,” he said. “We got enough here to win games. We gotta believe that. I’ve got to help them believe in themselves. We’re low on confidence right now from an offensive standpoint.”
With veterans Emeka Okafor, Trevor Ariza and Price now in the fold, the Wizards should be better equipped to handle the pressures of digging out of an early hole. But they haven’t yet.
“It’s tough,” Crawford said, “but I think everybody’s man enough to accept the challenge and I think we will.”