Reporters waited and waited for head coach Scott Brooks following Friday night's Wizards loss to the Atlanta Hawks. As the minutes passed, it was clear something out of the ordinary was going on. After the debacle that 19,557 witnessed at Capital One Arena, it wasn't hard to guess what was transpiring behind closed doors.
Brooks took the podium seething over his team's fourth straight loss and after ripping into his team for their effort. They have dropped 13 of their last 19 and this one came against the worst team in the Eastern Conference. Atlanta also happened to be missing their best player and gave significant minutes to several guys more accustomed to playing in the G-League.
It was an inexcusable loss in a season characterized by them. Brooks thought he had enough months ago, but it just keeps happening. The Wizards are days away from the playoffs starting and they still can't get it out of their system.
"It's embarrassing that we don't play with the passion that we need to play [with]," Brooks said. "Selfish basketball is no fun to coach, it's no fun to play with and it's no fun to watch. We're a selfish basketball team right now."
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Brooks lamented the fact the Wizards had only 18 assists as a team. The night before, John Wall had 14 by himself. Their 18 assists were their fewest in a game since Jan. 22.
The most amazing part of it was that Marcin Gortat, their center, led the team with four assists. Gortat averages only 1.8 dimes per game.
At least he passed the ball because Brooks was furious with the ball movement overall. This is the same team that was heralded for their passing just weeks ago.
"It's a simple game: you pass it to your teammate, you pass it because the game tells you to," Brooks said. "If you don't pass to your teammates, you're not going to end up getting good shots. One-on-one players, there aren't many in this league, and we don't have one on our team.”
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That last part might be a wakeup call for some in the Wizards' locker room. Brooks is essentially saying they aren't good enough as individuals to do it on their own like maybe other players around the league can.
Wizards players need to help each other to win, even against a team like the Hawks, and especially without John Wall.
"If we're not going to share the basketball, you can't just say 'John's not here' and all of a sudden we're going to be one-on-one players. John's not here, John's here, it doesn't matter. We still got to play the right way. The game tells you to pass it to your open teammate. The game tells you to guard the ball. The game tells you to help your team, and we're not doing that right now. It's embarrassing," he said.
Brooks has lambasted his team after too many of these losses this season. He's clearly sick of it and may be running out of options with just a week to go until the playoffs begin. He can only do so much. It's up to the players to heed his message and put it into action.
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