All season long, the Wizards have tested Scott Brooks’ patience with inconsistent play, lazy defense, stagnant offense and silly turnovers. After Wednesday’s loss to the Charlotte Hornets, he called out his team and hinted he’s ready to shake things up.
“It’s unacceptable the way we competed,” he said after the loss. “We’re going to have change some things and make sure we’re all going to compete. If not, we’re going to have to find guys who are going to compete.”
Washington didn’t just lose to Charlotte, they got blasted by 24 points in a game that featured issues with defense and discipline that have haunted the team throughout the season. They allowed Charlotte to make their first ten shots of the game and aided their cause with silly fouls.
They came unglued in the second quarter as they started to rush shots and turn the ball over while they struggled to keep up with the Hornets in transition.
Even though the Wizards finished the half shooting 54 percent from the field and 8-of-10 from three-point range, they still went into halftime down by 16 after the Hornets scored a franchise-record 77 points in the first half. The defensive disaster set the tone for Washington’s third loss this season by 20 or more points.
“They were making every shot. We didn’t make them feel us. We didn’t put pressure on guys,” Wall said after the game. “They were basically running dummy offense and getting whatever they wanted and being the more aggressive team, so that’s why they scored so high.”
Washington’s lack of aggression was most evident in the paint. Dwight Howard posted 18 points and 15 rebounds in just 29 minutes for the Hornets. On the other side, Markieff Morris and Marcin Gortat combined for two points and six fouls. To add insult to injury, Dwight Howard clowned the team after making a pair of technical free throws in the fourth quarter.
This is absolutely amazing.— Rob Perez (@World_Wide_Wob) January 18, 2018
MCW unable to attempt free throws in blowout, so Scott Brooks chooses Dwight Howard and makes him come back onto court to shoot
Dwight drains both, does Cassell big balls dance, blows Brooks a kiss #PettyWarz pic.twitter.com/qPhV6jdlVp
Coach Brooks has threatened to make changes in the past, but this time, he seems serious, and the players could tell.
“He’s pissed. That’s just plain and simple,” Bradley Beal said. “He’s upset. He’s mad. We’re not giving him what he wants from a production standpoint. He’s going to make a change, for sure.”
Heading into Detroit Friday, the team could look different by tip-off. Wall and Beal are safe. Otto Porter just signed a max contract and when healthy provides value in many areas of the game. The most likely option is to insert Kelly Oubre into the starting lineup for Markieff Morris. He began the season as a starter while Morris recovered from surgery and the Wizards’ three best lineups which have played at least 40 minutes this season include Oubre.
“We’re just going to have to find guys who are going to compete. It’s not about nothing else,” Brooks said. “It’s not about shots. It’s not about how many minutes. It’s not about how many shots you get. It’s about competing. We all get paid to compete regardless. Things aren’t going your way offensively. It’s not about that. It’s about competing, and we didn’t do that tonight.”