Wizards

Wizards

Marcin Gortat and the Wizards are much happier than they were just six days ago.

It was just last Tuesday that Gortat described the Wizards' 5-5 start as a "s***hole." That came on the heels of Bradley Beal saying the Wizards weren't "jack-ish." The Wizards lost to the Lakers, Suns and Mavericks all within a few weeks span and the Wizards were beside themselves about it.

In the past six days, the Wizards have notched convincing wins against the Lakers, Hawks and Kings, none of which are good teams. But in locking down on defense and not letting bad teams sneak up on them, the Wizards feel good about the adjustments they made. 

Gortat, in particular, is singing a much different tune.

"We really took this personally. We had teams like Phoenix and Dallas coming here and punking us in front of our own crowd. That's not nice. That's definitely not nice. We all got a lot of fire for that," he said. "We almost killed each other in practice."

Gortat apologized to the fans at morning shootaround before the Wizards' win against the Lakers last Tuesday. He apologized again on Monday after the Wizards' 110-92 win over the Kings.

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The fact two of those three ugly losses came at Capital One Arena didn't sit well with the Polish Machine.

 

"I feel like we owe them an apology. They come in here and they expect us to win games. We also expect them to come. When we play big teams like Boston or Cleveland, we expect them to come and help us out. We've gotta get them wins in those games where we plays teams that are 2-10 or 2-12. Those below .500, we have to give them the win. They pay a lot of money for tickets and I feel responsible to apologize for that type of performance."

Gortat took ownership of his play of late. He was held to just 18 points and 17 rebounds total in the previous three games. Though two of those were wins, Gortat didn't feel like he was carrying his weight.

Monday was much different. Gortat had 18 points, seven rebounds and a block in 31 minutes of work. That was while battling a grizzly bear in Zach Randolph and a young, athletic force in Willie Cauley-Stein.

"There is no secret, I have been playing very bad. The last four or five games, that stretch of games, I was awful and specifically on the rebounds and on the glass. I pretty much didn't exist offensively," Gortat said. 

"It has to change from me, personally. In order for us to win games, we need everybody in those games to perform. Today these guys helped me out a little more. They were looking for me a little bit more. Coach drew up a few plays for me. I'm definitely appreciative of that."

Defense is the biggest reason why the Wizards are now 8-5 following their 5-5 start. They held their opponents to less than 100 points in each of their last three wins after not doing that once last season.

The result has the Wizards climbing the Eastern Conference standings and quickly. They currently sit third in the East with only the Celtics and Pistons ahead of them.

That has everyone on the Wizards in a better mood, Gortat included.

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