Wake-up call: 'Frontrunners' care too much about offense

Wake-up call: 'Frontrunners' care too much about offense
January 6, 2014, 6:00 am
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Trevor Booker: "We're going through a difficult time"

(Bob Youngentob, CSNwashington)

After calling his team "selfish" for a loss Friday to the Toronto Raptors, Wizards coach Randy Wittman added another to the heap of unflattering descriptions in Sunday's loss to the Golden State Warriors: "Frontrunners."

The moment the Wizards (14-17) run into the slightest adversity, miss a few shots or have the opponent hop on a run, they pack their bags and mentally check out. They took an eight-point lead in the first quarter, scoring 36 points. Golden State tied it at the half at 58 thanks to 12 trips to the foul line.

Wittman: "We’re ... a team of front-runners, where if things are going good, our energy level is really high. And when we don’t make shots, the energy just zaps from our bodies. It has to be almost the other way around. It’s almost has to be, you’ve got to energize yourself through bad play."

The Warriors opened the third quarter with a 30-5 run. The Wizards missed the first six shots until consecutive buckets by John Wall that included a three-pointer. Bradley Beal missed all nine of his shot attempts after starting 4-for-6.

"He said we were lackadaisical. We were still asleep. We played a great the first half, and the second half it looked like a dog died or something," Beal said of Wittman's message during a timeout of the third-quarter meltdown. "We just were not in tune. We gave up two quick baskets and got down four quickly. That is just something we have to stay away from. Even when he called time outs, they still went on runs. That is up to us players. That is not coach’s fault. I put a lot of it on myself as well.”

Wall isn't harping on the missed shots. For him, it's the defensive effort. His was solid throughout as he was instrumental in holding Stephen Curry to 14 points on 5-for-17 shooting. 

"We just got to find a way to get ourselves together in the third quarter and get ourselves out of a funk.  Some nights everybody is going to miss shots and that's something you have to do as a team," Wall said. "Everybody has to keep playing defense and get you playing basketball the right way.  We just keep moving the ball and try to get out of this funk of missing shots. But you got to keep playing defense no matter what."