WASHINGTON -- Here are some postgame quotes that stood out to me following the Washington Wizards' 89-86 loss to the Boston Celtics on Saturday night.
On potential lineup changes: "We've got to figure out a better way to start games. When you get off to starts like this, you do [think about changes]. We'll think about it and see what we'll do."
On the team being undermanned: "We've got to find somebody to play through at the end right now, with the injuries we have. We've got to learn to make plays at some point. If you never put [Kevin] in that situation, he's never going to learn."
On Trevor Ariza: "He's a defender for us, get out on the floor and run, rebound. Those are the things he has to do to get himself through, but I don't know if he had a rebound tonight. When you're struggling, you have to find other things to do to help your confidence rather than just trying to make a shot"
On the team's slow starts: "Our starts are so bad, you don't know if you're ever going to see daylight again. I didn't know if the damn sun was coming up tomorrow. I truly didn't. That's how bad it was to me sitting there."
On the final play:"In that situation, coach and I talked about it. [He said] I could have gotten the ball in and attacked the basket. But where I felt I was, it was a jeopardizing position. So I tried to go up, and I thought there was some contact, honestly. But I guess there wasn't. If I had a chance to do that again, there'd be a different outcome."
On the turnover he made with Kevin Garnett on him: "He put some pressure on me, so I have to learn from it. He put some pressure on me, so I tried to pass the ball and I lost it. But that's just something I have to work on. He [played] good defense, I can't lie."
On his struggles: "On offense, I wasn't involved, really. I wasn't being aggressive. I wasn't asserting myself. It's upon me. It's not my coach's fault, the players' fault. It's on me. I have to be responsible for it. I basically have to step up."
On how teams are defending him: "They're not letting me shoot the ball, clearly. The other coaches are saying it. The player are saying it on the other team. It gets frustrating, because it's something you love to do and it's one of your strengths. When you're not able to reach those strengths, it's hard to fight through it. But at the same time, it's part of growing up and being a man in this league."
On how he has to get things going: "I just play within the flow of the game. I'm not just going to go get the ball and throw up shots. That's not me. I just got to keep playing ball. I just can't let it affect me. They're taking away my strengths, but I've got to keep playing ball, be a decoy, so to speak. Get other people involved. That's what I got to do more and eventually it'll come to me."
On what he's been told: "Trevor [Booker or Ariza, not sure which] pulled me aside and said to me, 'This might not be your year. You never know. Just stay on course. [But] you play the right way, so just keep doing that for us [and things will change].'"
On his injured ankle: "He stepped on my ankle while I was going up, but I'm alright. I'm going to play [going forward].
On their struggles offensively: "We've just got to execute. That's our problem right now. We're forgetting plays that we've gone over a lot. That's hurting us."
On what he'd tell Bradley Beal: "You've got to be aggressive. It's not in his game to force it. He likes to let the game come to him. [But] as a two guard in this league, you've got to be aggressive, bring some of that attention to you and open it up for other players."
On advice he'd give to Bradley Beal: "Take your shots. Create your own shots. Drive to the hole. Get fouled. Basically, just the same thing he did in the preseason. Play with no fear. Play with no regard."
On why things have been a struggle for Beal so far: "My guess is these games are real. They count. I can't imagine being 19 in this league, starting and having to produce. So we're just trying to instill confidence in him. He works really hard in the gym. You just have to trust yourself. Go out there and make plays, and if you turn the ball over, at least you're aggressive."
On slow starts: "I think that, early in the season, first-game jitters as the team gets used to playing with each other. As the team gets more comfortable, I think that'll go away."
On Trevor Ariza's struggles: "It's very early in the season. In an 82-game season, you're not going to be on every single one of those games. To make a big deal out of 2, I don't think it's fair. If you were start off hot for two and then not so much for two, nobody would pay attention. But because its the first two, everyone is paying attention."