WASHINGTON -- NBA play-by-play statistics only go back to the 1996-97 season, so although the Wizards on Tuesday night tied for the second-largest blown lead in the play-by-play era, we do not know for certain whether it was the worst loss in franchise history. The records do go back long enough, however, to ensure no player on their roster had ever experienced anything like it before.
The Wizards were up by 35 points against the Los Angeles Clippers at their peak and led for 47 minutes and 46.1 seconds. That was until Luke Kennard converted a four-point play to cap a stunning comeback and hand the Wizards one of the more heartbreaking defeats those who were watching will ever see.
This loss was the Wizards' fourth in a row and it came just two days after they suffered their largest defeat of the season, by 29 points, to the Boston Celtics. Bradley Beal called the loss to the Celtics "embarrassing" and then used the same word following the Clippers defeat.
Kyle Kuzma went much further than that, making direct and indirect comments about the Wizards' big picture trajectory.
"I mean, something's gotta change, I don't know. It's pretty comical at this point. To blow a 35-point lead," Kuzma said.
Kuzma pointed out how the Wizards are now 13-22 after starting the season 10-3. The sample size of them being a mediocre-to-bad team is now close to triple that of them being a good one.
Kuzma expressed frustration with how the Wizards are essentially trying the same methods while expecting a different result.
"We can just continue to do this or we can change, I don't know. It's kind of above my pay grade," he said.
The timing of Kuzma's comments is interesting, given the trade deadline is two weeks from Thursday. If the Wizards want to make wholesale improvements, they will need to do so very soon. Once the Feb. 10 deadline passes, they will essentially have to ride it out with the roster they have.
Perhaps the front office will see fit to make some aggressive moves ahead of the deadline. They have a collection of veterans on mid-level contracts they could package together to make significant changes, if they want to. Whether they have enough to land a major difference-maker remains to be seen.
There is also the question looming over Bradley Beal and his contract future. If they hold onto him past the deadline, as they are expected to, they will enter an offseason in which he can opt out of his deal and become a free agent.
Kuzma went on to specify he believes changes could help when it comes to the way the coaching staff uses the current roster. They are in a bit of an awkward stage, having just welcomed back a group of players that has left their rotation in flux. It has led to some oddities like how Daniel Gafford starts at center and then disappears, no matter how well he plays.
"We're still trying to fit multiple guys into the rotation. We're still trying to figure out roles after 40, 50 games... You would think that as a collective group we would have our roles figured out, but we don't," Kuzma said.
Kuzma, it should be noted, had a hand in the Wizards' blown lead on Tuesday night. He committed a crucial mistake with a five-second inbound violation with 8.2 seconds to go. That led to the possession in which Kennard made the go-ahead play.
"I had no options, so I'm not going to have a live-ball turnover. I just took it. That was the smartest thing to do. That's what I saw, so," Kuzma offered as his explanation.
Kuzma also missed a free throw with 11.2 seconds left and overthrew a full-court pass on the Wizards' final possession, when they were hoping for a miracle play with one second on the clock. He was part of the problem on Tuesday, but he intends to be part of the solution moving forward.
What that solution is, he isn't sure. He just knows something has to change.