The record is broken. It's a different day -- Saturday to be exact -- and the same old problems for the Wizards. They can't defend the perimeter properly, they know it and the latest proof comes in the form of a 114-111 loss to one of the worst offenses in the NBA.
"We're not on the same page defensively at all," said Beal, who had 34 points on 12-for-26 shooting and playing 40 minutes vs. the Miami Heat. "We can't just guard our guys individually, just keep them in front of us. We got to work with that first. I think we rely too much on our help. We're putting too much pressure on our other teammates when we're just letting our guy go by us. We're just not having that effort or we're slow on some of the rotations."
This is exactly what Marcin Gortat said two years ago, which drew the ire of then-teammate Paul Pierce, about them compromising the frontline by allowing too much pentration into the lane.
That was then, after a 38-point loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2015:
You just got to man up and play defense. Each one of us needs to step in and play one-on-one defense. Simple as that. Just stop your guy in front of you. That’s it. You can’t rely constantly on help, and help, and help, and stuff like that. You just got to man up and play defense, and do whatever it takes to win your matchup.
This is now, with teammates echoing Gortat's concerns:
Miami, 3-8 entering the game, was the NBA's 22nd-ranked three-point shooting team at 33.6% but went 13-for-27 to finish at 48.1% vs. the Wizards. They made 43 of 85 shots overall for 50.6% and scored 19 points more than they averaged per game this season (94.5) which was third-worst.
"They were beating us off the dribble, straight-line drives and they were getting offensive rebounds," said Wizards coach Scott Brooks, whose team gave up 18, including nine alone to Hassan Whiteside. "Then we were scrambling and they were getting open threes. We have to be better defensively. We've talked about this many times. It's a process that we're going through and we have to figure out together. But we're getting beat off the dribble."
The Wizards led 42-35 midway through the second quarter and then Miami went on a run that included five layups to take the lead 60-59 entering the half.
"A lot of the times we're switching and still getting beat," Brooks said of the pick-and-roll defense as Goran Dragic (22 points), Dion Waiters (16) and Josh Richardson (15) took advantage. "That's usually the safeguarrd, to just get out of the coverage, man up and guard your man. Dragic was doing that. Waiters was doing that. Richardson was doing that. They were just attacking us. ... When you give up layups, all of a sudden the basket becomes big and you're a three-point shooter and that's what happened tonight. They had guys who normally don't make threes, make threes."
John Wall also had 34 points for Washington, but his focus was what they didn't right on the defensive side of the ball.
"Those basically were workout shots. There was nobody there to contest them," Wall said of the perimeter defense. "Our scoring wasn't the problem for us. We couldn't keep them from getting to the paint. Coach told us before the game they're one of the best teams in the league getting to the paint. They did a great job of spacing the floor and making wide open shots."
Derrick Williams, who shot 14% from three coming into the game, was 2-for-4 (50%). Richardson was shooting 31.3% and shot 4-for-6 (66.7%).
"We could've battled a little bit better," Wall said of being outrebounded 48-38. "March did a great job, still having 16 rebounds. You give him credit for that because he was helping sometimes on the drives. He was just there by himself getting rebounds, getting putbacks."