After yet another heartbreaking loss late in the game to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night, the media gathered as usual in the press room awaiting Randy Wittman’s press conference. In a room that has seen a decrease in the number of representatives, I had a side conversation with one of the writers. I mentioned that I could probably tweet Randy Wittman’s quotes in advance and just skip that part.
I wasn’t too far from the truth.
“We made too many critical mistakes because we’re not alert down the stretch.”
“[Bradley Beal has] gotta give some more…figure out ways to score when his jump shot’s not falling”
“It will help to have Nene’s minutes go up.”
It’s become the same show with different faces at this point. And in a loss in which the Wizards were in it until the final minute of play, it has just become all too familiar.
But let’s talk about the unfamiliar. There were some good and bad new developments with taht game and it's post-game comments.
Shelvin Mack: His play was impeccable in the way he set the tone in the first quarter. He ended up with six points, seven assists and six rebounds. Had he not injured his groin in the fourth quarter, he really might have [cue Ice Cube] "messed around and got a triple-double." But the main thing about his play is that he was always pushing the ball, always active on defense, and finding the open man for an easy bucket. Is it any coincidence that in Mack’s first game back, Nene and Okafor had possibly their best games yet?
Unfortunately, Mack’s play did not help Jan Vesely’s case at all, as he only picked up two points, six boards and one assist with four fouls to go with it in 20 minutes of play.
Yes. 20 minutes of play. Vesely played much of the fourth quarter up until around the three-minutes-to-play mark. Without Wall being on the court himself and having Vesely play a full 48 minutes, this is as close as one can get to see that Wall is not going to help Vesely’s play whatsoever. Mack, being a capable point guard, and the rest of the players tried to get Vesely involved, but the guy just cannot produce on the court. Did I mention that Luke Walton was getting the best of him on both sides, as well?
As for another unfamiliarity that I noticed after the game, the Wizards seem to be distancing themselves from Wittman. In Wittman’s presser, he mentioned that there are too many guys trying to score. However, Martell Webster made note that he didn’t think that was the case at all.
Wittman said Beal had to figure out new ways to score, yet Beal said he wasn’t even paying attention to scoring and was more focused on getting stops. This could gauge some problems.
And later that night, Marc Spears reported that John Wall told Y! Sports that he planned on coming back in January. The follwoing morning, Wittman had no idea that was said. “Oh, God I hope so,” were his words.
There hasn’t been any disconnect in the locker room as far as the players amongst themselves, but there seems to be a disconnect with the coach and his team. This isn’t to say there’s any bad blood or disbelief with their coach, but there is a disconnect; and for a team who’s main concern in training camp was staying vocal, this is an issue that needs to be addressed.
But for now, it’s back to the now season-long drawing board and back to the patience of waiting for the face of the franchise to come back to settle a lot of statements that have been made over the past 26 games.