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Coach Scott Brooks unloads on 'soft' Wizards after loss to Bulls

Coach Scott Brooks unloads on 'soft' Wizards after loss to Bulls

Wizards head coach Scott Brooks scratched and clawed his way through 10 NBA seasons as a player after going undrafted out of college and while doing all of it as an undersized point guard. He made it those 10 years because more than anything he was tough and resilient.

And because of that, there is nothing he laments more as a coach than when he believes his players are being soft. On Sunday night, after his Wizards lost in Chicago to the Bulls, he used the word 'soft' over and over to describe their performance to reporters.

In Brooks-ese, which often consists of platitudes and positivity, that means he is nothing short of irate about how the Wizards have played in their first two games coming out of the All-Star break. They have lost to two teams - the Cavs and Bulls - who are not good and in games they had early leads and a chance to win.

But it's clearly not just the losses themselves that has bothered Brooks, it is the nature of them. And you could argue the way he unloaded on his team on Sunday night suggested he is as fed up now as he has been at any point with them since he took over as head coach four years ago.

What Brooks had a particular issue with was the and-ones the Wizards allowed. The Bulls had nine of them, which means the Wizards fouled them but not hard enough to prevent a made shot. Brooks evidently wants his players to make their fouls count and ensure nothing comes easy for their opponents. He wants them to earn those points at the free-throw line.

As Brooks put it, the "and-ones were about as soft as you can get," per Candace Buckner of the Washington Post. He also said the 16 and-ones between the last two games may be the most he's ever seen in his NBA career.

That would be difficult to verify, but it's easy to figure out who has been the culprit recently. Of the 16 and-ones in the last two games, which was indeed the accurate number, Ian Mahinmi leads the way with four. Bradley Beal, Jerome Robinson, Davis Bertans and Moe Wagner are next up with two apiece.

All in all, nine different Wizards players have committed an and-one foul in the last two games. So, though Mahinmi has had the most issues, it's a team-wide problem.

There is also more to an and-one than just the fouler themselves. They are usually the result of a defensive breakdown. But Brooks also noted how some Bulls players probably didn't even realize they were fouled, which suggests they should have been fouled harder.

Surely, the Wizards will work on it because as direct as Brooks was with the media on Sunday night, you can bet it was much worse behind closed doors. Wizards players likely got an earful either at halftime or after the game. And they will likely hear plenty more in an upcoming film session.

Playing soft is Brooks' biggest pet peeve and the Wizards have clearly struck a nerve with their last two games. The good news is they will have a chance to rebound very soon with another game on Monday night, the second of a back-to-back. The bad news is that it's against the NBA-best Milwaukee Bucks, a team currently on pace to win 70 games.

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On this date in tournament history: Chris Webber calls timeout

On this date in tournament history: Chris Webber calls timeout

The Michigan Wolverines were down two points to the North Carolina Tar Heels with 19 seconds to play in regulation in the second half of the 1993 NCAA National Championship game.

After grabbing the rebound off the missed free throw attempt, Michigan star Chris Webber (23 points, 11 rebounds) established his pivot foot, re-angling his body towards the basket, locked in a one-possession game with the championship on the line. 

Webber attempted to dish the ball off to a teammate, but after seeing a lurking Tar Heel, the future No. 1 pick continued his dribble towards halfcourt. 

The travel call was missed by the officiating staff, but not by the broadcast crew.

"Oh, he walked," Bill Packer exclaimed on the broadcast. "He walked and the referee missed it!"

CBS announcer Jim Nance continued on with the gameplay, as only 12 seconds remained on the clock in regulation.

"Webber brings it into the frontcourt," Nantz said. "They have no timeouts remaining."

If only someone had told him.

Webber, trapped in the left corner by a UNC double-team, signaled for time, resulting in a technical foul shot for the Tar Heels as well as possession.

"He called a timeout," Nantz said. "Michigan doesn't have any!"

At the opposing foul line, UNC's Donald Williams (25 points) knocked down both free throws, increasing their lead to four points with 11 seconds remaining. 

From there it was all over.

North Carolina 77, Michigan 71.

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On this date in tournament history: Emeka Okafor leads UConn over Georgia Tech to win national championship

On this date in tournament history: Emeka Okafor leads UConn over Georgia Tech to win national championship

Before he departed on a very successful NBA career, former Wizards center Emeka Okafor was a standout member of the UConn Huskies.

In 2004 the Huskies went on to win their final nine games of the season before they captured the Big East championship.

After making their way through the NCAA Tournament bracket, the only team standing in coach Jim Calhoun's way were the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, lead by future Wizards guard Will Bynum (17 points, five assists).

Georgia Tech didn't back down early, taking a 12-11 lead over the Huskies with 13:41 to go in the first half. 

Okafor (24 points, 15 rebounds) scored to give UConn the lead right back, and they never trailed again.

At halftime, the Huskies lead the Yellow Jackets by a staggering 15 points and they kept their foot on the gas to start the second half.

The Huskies were able to extend their lead to 25 during the second half before Bynum at Georgia Tech came roaring back, but by then, the game was out of reach.

UConn emerged with an 82-73 victory over the Yellow Jackets, led by Okafor and future NBA journeyman Ben Gordon (21 points).

Okafor was named the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player.

UConn's women's basketball team would go on to win its national championship a day later against the Tennessee Volunteers.

Connecticut became the first school ever in Division I to win NCAA titles in men's and women's basketball in the same season. 

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