The situation in Washington is quickly reaching its tipping point. With their 134-111 loss to the Thunder on Friday night, the reeling Wizards fell to 1-7 on the season in a game that was worse than even final score might indicate.
By halftime, they had fallen behind 79-50, giving up 44 points in the second quarter alone. That was in part due to the Thunder’s hot shooting, but in larger measure because the Wizards as a team had coughed the ball up for a total of 16 turnovers in the first half alone. The Wizards’ backcourt duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal combined for 13 of those on the night.
To put it mildly, the Wizards’ defensive efforts were also lacking, to say the least, as the Thunder poured it on from deep, hitting 15 of their 32 attempts from behind the arc – logging 34 assists as a team in the process – as Washington was slow to close out on shooters.
And team morale wasn’t much better. If the Wizards have indeed tuned head coach Scott Brooks out, as this type of sideline incident would seem to indicate, he could be an early casualty of the coaching carousel here in the young season.
But it wasn’t all bad news. Bradley Beal had a big night as he led the team with 27 points on 10-of-16 shooting overall, including 4-of-7 from downtown. Dwight Howard also made his season debut for Washington, putting up 20 points on 7-of-8 from the field in just 23 minutes of action.
The Wizards as a team, however, looked apathetic and disinterested, with little to no cohesion or chemistry on either side of the court. A shake-up seems inevitable at this point. The roster is loaded with talent, though several of their key contributors – including Kelly Oubre and Otto Porter Jr. – have struggled to start the season.
With the Eastern Conference more wide open this season given LeBron’s departure, the Wizards, at least on paper, were one of those teams that seemed destined to battle for prime playoff positioning. But after a start like this, they’ll be fortunate to even be in the postseason hunt by the end of the season.