After missing the playoffs last season, the Washington Wizards are looking to recapture that postseason magic it had two years ago. So far this season, things aren’t shaping up that way.
Despite finally getting in the win column Friday night, the Wizards were 1-4 in the first five games, with problems coming on both ends of the court. As of Monday, Washington ranked in the bottom half of the 30-team league in per game statistics: rebounds (22nd), points per game (25th) and assists (28th).
Defensively, the Wizards have held teams to 44.3 percent shooting, which ranks near the top half of the league so far.
The Wizards lost a tough game Saturday, Nov. 5 against the Orlando Magic at the Amway Center in Orlando, 88-86, when Markieff Morris missed a wide-open 3-pointer as time expired. Morris led the team with 18 points and three assists.
Wizards guard Bradley Beal, who had 15 points and three assists in the loss, expressed a bit of frustration after the game.
“We got to find a way to get stops,” he said. “We have to find a way to score the ball. [Head] coach [Scott Brooks] is pretty fed up with the way we’re playing. I think he’s going to start playing guys who want to play and guys who are going to show up.
“We had moments [when] we were consistent,” Beal said. “I can be positive about it. Most of the time we played very good defensively, but we lost the game by a few points. That’s where we have to keep it up.”
All-Star point guard John Wall, who scored 22 points with 10 rebounds and six assists in the team’s first win against the Atlanta Hawks at Verizon Center on Friday, didn’t play in Orlando the following night. Wall may not play in a few back-to-back games as part of his rehabilitation from surgery on both knees in the offseason.
Rookie guard Tomas Satoransky started in Wall’s place and scored eight points with three assists and two rebounds in 32 minutes.
Satoransky is one of eight new players on the Wizards roster, which Brooks said Friday will take time to jell on the court, especially after committing 19 turnovers against the Hawks.
“Those are the things we have to get better with,” he said. “We’ve only been together for a short period of time. We definitely need to work on taking care of the basketball and getting a shot every time down the court.”
The team did a much better job protecting the ball with only 10 turnovers Saturday, but again shot below 40 percent.
Wall’s presence was clearly missed, as the team had only 11 assists. Wall is third in the NBA with 10 assists per game.
The Wizards did out-rebound the Magic, 49-43, led by center Marcin Gortat who ranks fourth in the league at 12.4 per game.
The upcoming schedule isn’t too kind to Washington, either. A tough three-game home stand that began Monday against James Harden and the Houston Rockets culminates Friday, Nov. 11 against LeBron James and defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers. And because of Wall’s rehab schedule, the Wizards may be without him for the following night’s road game against Dwayne Wade and the Chicago Bulls.