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Wizards' Scott Brooks confirms Steve Kerr's apology, says he doesn't hold it against Warriors

Wizards' Scott Brooks confirms Steve Kerr's apology, says he doesn't hold it against Warriors

Wizards' coach Scott Brooks confirmed on Tuesday that he did receive an apology from his Warriors counterpart Steve Kerr following the incident between the teams on Sunday that saw Washington guard Brandon Jennings shove Golden State center JaVale McGee to the floor for shooting a three late in a blowout win.

Brooks understands why Kerr wanted to apologize, but said he will not hold what happened against the Warriors organization.

"We've exchanged text messages. I have great respect for their organization. They are a championship team," Brooks said. "The last minute did not take anything away from how they play. You don't want their five-man shooting a three when they're up 20, but that's not of my business. But they won the game fair and square. We had a chance to play better for the 48 minutes before that and we did not do that."

Brooks went on to say acknowledge that there are some unwritten rule sin the game of basketball. In-game policing between players may be more prevalent in other sports like baseball, but there's no question in Brooks' mind that goes on in the NBA.

[RELATED: McGee said he was glad he got pushed late in Wizards' loss]

Brooks, for one, subscribes to those ideas and standards for his own team.

"I have some rules. The guys know," Brooks said. "When you're up [big], you don't want to shoot threes and run alley-oop plays or run the score up. Golden State doesn't do that. They took one bad shot, but that's not who they are. I'm not going to look at them and wish bad luck for them."

In Sunday's loss, the Wizards had essentially conceded the game by emptying their bench late in the fourth quarter and down over 20 points. The Warriors decided to leave Stephen Curry and Draymond Green on the floor as both were chasing personal statistics. Green was going for a triple-double and Curry eclipsed the 40-point mark. Then, there was McGee's shot.

All of that happened after the game was well in hand, hence the problem. Brooks understands that, but takes issue with people calling that time in a game "garbage time."

Here's why:

"There's no garbage time. I don't call it garbage time because I was in there a lot [as a player]. So, I take offense to garbage time. I always told people that 'it's my garbage time and you wish you could be in there playing during those minutes.' Players that were calling it that were not quite good enough to make a team. So, that was my jab back at them."

There you go. Follow the game's unwritten rules, just don't call it 'garbage time.'

[RELATED: Kerr wishes McGee handled his shot differently]

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Expectations weren't high, but at 2-7 are the Wizards underachieving?

Expectations weren't high, but at 2-7 are the Wizards underachieving?

Should the Wizards be better than this?

Certainly, what has transpired so far this season has not been all that surprising. They let more talent leave than they brought in over the summer, but by-design to get younger players with more long-term upside and more financial flexibility. With the roster they put together, few out there had any delusions of them contending for a top seed in the Eastern Conference.

But after nine games they sit 2-7, as certifiably one of the worst teams in basketball. No teams have fewer wins than the Wizards and only three have more losses. Those three are the Pelicans (Zion Williamson got hurt), the Warriors (everyone got hurt) and the Knicks. Hey, at least they're not the Knicks.

A 2-7 record, though, is a 2-7 record and some of the numbers aren't pretty. The Wizards are allowing 120 points per game, fourth-most in the NBA. Their 114.6 defensive rating is 29th out of 30 teams.

To be fair, we knew they were going to be dreadful defensively. Though they made some astute moves in the offseason, they basically brought in all offensive-minded players. 

Yes, much of what has happened for the Wizards this season has been predictable. But when you bring a magnifying glass over the big picture things have been, well, just okay so far.

When it comes to individuals, it's a mixed bag. Rui Hachimura has been a nice surprise because of how quickly he has translated to the NBA as a rookie. Thomas Bryant looks at least marginally improved. His trajectory appears to be continuing upward.

Moe Wagner has been solid, at least showing enough to prove he isn't the bust he resembled last year in L.A.. Davis Bertans has been excellent, giving general manager Tommy Sheppard an early feather in his cap by possibly beating the vaunted Spurs in a trade.

Isaiah Thomas has been mostly good so far. He may not be the All-NBA star from his Boston days, but the Wizards are at least getting more than Denver got out of him last year. 

But there have been some relative disappointments. Ish Smith and C.J. Miles haven't gotten going yet, though their long veteran track records should present some hope.

Troy Brown Jr. has not shown anything to suggest a second-year leap, but he missed all of the preseason with a calf injury and may need some time to catch up. Jordan McRae hasn't been great either, but should also be graded on a curve because of his injury.

We haven't seen anything conclusive yet from Admiral Schofield or Justin Robinson. Isaac Bonga was okay when he started the first seven games of the season, but showed nothing to write home about.

There have been some positives and some negatives, which is to be expected. Their latest loss was understandable, as they fell in Boston to the NBA-best 9-1 Celtics on Wednesday night. But their loss the game before, by double-digits at home to the Cavaliers, was a head-scratcher.

And still, 2-7 is 2-7. Right now, the Wizards look safely headed towards the lottery, hoping the ping-pong balls bring them a future star in James Wiseman or Cole Anthony.

Really, if that happens and they fall well short of the playoffs, it's okay. They are going to need more building blocks, anyways.

The Wizards are a franchise in transition, having just restructured their front office. The early part of this season is essentially baseline testing. It's not about how they look now, it's what they turn into by the end of the season and the foundation they lay for the future.

This year will be viewed as a success if Hachimura and Bryant continue to ascend, if Brown Jr. turns a corner and if some combination of Wagner, Schofield and Bonga show promise. Maybe Bertans, Thomas and Miles are flipped at the trade deadline for future assets.

It's still very early. We are just getting a good read on what the Wizards are at the moment.

As long as they make progress and trend up from here, things will be fine. If they don't, then there might be a different conversation.

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Rui Hachimura bluntly describes Wizards' defensive struggles this season

Rui Hachimura bluntly describes Wizards' defensive struggles this season

The Wizards didn't just drop their third straight to fall to 2-7 Wednesday night in Boston, but they again gave up an obscene amount of points. 

Washington fell 140-133, marking the fifth time in the first nine games in which they've given up more than 120 points. They've held an opposing offense under 100 twice. 

After the loss, Scott Brooks said the team's defensive issues started with the scouting report. Players weren't familiar enough with the Celtics' tendencies so when Washington needed a stop, they couldn't get one. 

Rookie forward Rui Hachimura put it a bit more bluntly. 

“From the beginning of the season, our defense has been no good," he said. 

With Hachimura, Bradley Beal and Isaiah Thomas, the Wizards shouldn't have any issue scoring this season. They have the sixth-ranked offense in the NBA, but the fact that they still have a -4.4 net rating is telling to how bad they've been on the other end.

The Wizards are in the midst of a rebuilding year. The goals for teams like these are to acquire young talent and hope they develop into foundational pieces. As important as obtaining talent is, building good habits can make or break a young player's development, especially in the age of the one-and-done.

They'll have to commit more to the defensive end if they have any hopes of putting multiple wins together. The question is whether they have the personnel to do it. 

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