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Wizards need better production from their bench

Today's Wake-Up Call focuses on the lack of production from the Wizards' bench, why Randy Wittman needs to let Bradley Beal shoot more from downtown, and the history of Kris Humphries' basketball career.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

1. Bench woes

Against the Phoenix Suns last week, the Wizards' bench was able to cut a 17-point lead to just four before the Suns ran away with the game in the final few minutes. Against the Raptors just three days later, this is what happened:

When a wounded and weakened John Wall exited for his customary breather at the end of the first quarter Saturday night, the Washington Wizards and Toronto Raptors were tied at 28. Wall would sit for 4 minutes 45 seconds. In that brief span the Wizards managed to engineer a deficit so vast that even a furious fourth-quarter rally wouldn't be enough in a 120-116 overtime loss.

By the time Wall checked back in with 8:33 remaining in the second quarter, the Raptors were leading by 15 points.

This inconsistency needs fixing. Randy Wittman's constant tinkering doesn't seem to be bringing about results. Is Ernie Grunfeld looking hard for other options at this point?

2. No time for rest

In the past three games as the Wizards have been sluggish to start, they've been blitzed by their opponents at the same time.

Against the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, a 12-win team, the Wizards gave up 57 first-half points. They trailed by as many as 19 before coming back to win 98-92. But against the better teams, that formula won't work.

The Wizards (31-17) fell down by 22 to the Phoenix Suns the next night and scored only 39 points by halftime. Phoenix had 56 in the half en route to a 106-98 victory. Toronto scored 65 in the first half, the most given up by the Wizards this season in the opening quarters, and led by 21.

Total, that's minus-43 for the Wizards in those three games in the first half. Better starts would've likely meant a 3-0 record rather than 1-2.

For a team talking about potentially reaching the NBA Finalsthere's no place for those types of first-half efforts.

3. Bradley Beal needs to fly

To quote the great Mark Wahlberg in The Other Guys:

"I'm a peackcock. You gotta let me fly!"

Maybe Beal should be saying that to Wittman nowadays. The young stud is being held back by Wittman's lack of interest in freeing up the young buck for more three-point field goal attempts.

If Wittman would just let him fly, who knows where Beal could help take this team.

4. Kris Humphries should stick around

No one coming off the bench for the Wizards this season has been more consistent than Humphries. Every night he puts his heart on the floor, grabbing loose balls, offensive rebounds, putback dunks, etc. Some of those things won't be seen on a stat sheet, but Humphries has been doing them his entire career and has been huge piece to this team's puzzle all season long.

5. Wizards host Hornets tonight

The Charlotte Hornets (20-27) may not have a record that scares you, but they're 7-3 in their last 10 games, having held their opponents to league-lows of 89.4 points per game and 39.7-percent shooting since Jan. 3. The Wizards (31-17), on the flip side, are just 5-5 in their last 10 and in dire need of wins heading into the All-Star Break.

Tip off is set for 7 p.m. at the Verizon Center. You can watch live on Comcast SportsNet and listen on 99.1 WNEW.