Heading into this weekend, the Washington Wizards were feeling pretty good about themselves. They’d won three games in a row, and it looked like they were finally starting to find their rhythm after what has been a positively abysmal start to the season. But now it’s looking like those wins may have been little more than fool’s gold.
With all due respect to the Heat, Magic, and Cavs, they weren’t exactly facing the class of the East in those contests, however edifying those victories may have been at the time for team morale. But after back-to-back losses this weekend to the Nets on Friday and the Blazers on Sunday, the Wizards have once again regressed to the mean, which in their case entails pointing the finger at everybody but themselves.
Their 119-109 home loss to Portland on Sunday belied a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score might suggest. They allowed the Blazers to race out to a 20-point lead in the first quarter – a lead that ballooned to 29 at one point – and never really recovered until a final desperate push in garbage time resulted in a seemingly closer margin that won’t hold up under any sort of scrutiny.
Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum lit them up for a combined 65 points on the night, and it was Lillard’s third game of 40 or more points, which leads the NBA.
After the game, they didn’t waste any time before the finger-pointing commenced, starting with head coach Scott Brooks, who continued his mantra that his teams simply need to play harder.
Brooks is planted firmly in the hot seat after Washington’s dreadful start, and it’s unlikely he’ll survive a few more ugly efforts like the ones that have become all too familiar from this current iteration of the team.
John Wall had a respectable 24 points on 10-of-21 shooting, including 3-of-6 from behind the arc, but also dished out just three total assists for the game. And his back-court mate, Bradley Beal, struggled from the floor all night as he shot just 4-of-13 to finish with 12 points.
Wall didn’t have much to say afterwards about the team’s energy, or lackthereof, instead opting to criticize the officiating crew, presumably about the free-throw discrepancy that sent the Blazers to the line 35 times versus the Wizards’ 21 attempts from the stripe.
To make matters worse, Dwight Howard was forced to leave the game early as he is reportedly still battling a lingering issue with a gluteal muscle.
It remains to be seen just how long the Wizards can continue down their current path before something has to give, whether that be a coaching change or a trade involving a member of their star duo. Until then, the Wizards are still the Wizards, and their misery apparently knows no bounds.