Wake-up call: Individual play not good enough

Wake-up call: Individual play not good enough
November 23, 2013, 8:00 am
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Wittman: "It's not about who had a good game"

Getting a career-high 47 points in a game last season was much better for John Wall than the 37 he posted Friday, which was a season-high.

Not because of the obvious -- a bigger number -- but the Wizards won that game vs. the Memphis Grizzlies. They just lost to the Toronto Raptors 96-88, with Wall shooting 15-for-21 to keep his team competitive. Eighty-eight points represented their second-lowest output of the season. 

"I hope our players try to give all (they) can every night," coach Randy Wittman said afterward. "John had a good game. It's not about who had a good game. It's about winning and losing. That's what we've got to focus on."

The Wizards have won just four of 12 games into Saturday's game vs. the New York Knicks and Verizon Center (CSN, 7 p.m. ET). A victory would give them three victories in four games, which is an improvement for a team that already has had a three-game and four-game losing streak.

While Wall can score in bunches if needed, that's not when the Wizards are at their best. They're better when he's distributing, sprinkling in buckets in-between Martell Webster and Bradley Beal when they're knocking down three-pointers. And that creates space inside for Nene and Marcin Gortat to go to work, or vice versa.

Beal, who had made 12 of his last 19 three-point shots, isn't always going to be on. He shot 2-for-9 in Toronto. 

[RELATED: (VIDEO) Wall goes behind the back for layup vs. Raptors]

The trouble spot was a bench that only scored nine points. They'd been averaging just 11 in the three games prior to that. Wittman has to find an answer to prevent his team from falling into another tailspin, particularly when they're in a stretch of four games in five days.

Backup center Kevin Seraphin played for the first time in two games, but in just seven minutes he picked up four fouls, four points and just one rebound. He couldn't fill the void left by Nene and Gortat, who had to sit early because of foul trouble and then played more tentatively when they returned. 

Trevor Ariza (strained right hamstring) could be back soon. Al Harrington (right knee soreness) doesn't appear close.

Jan Vesely and Garrett Temple have provided good energy but are there more for defense. Trevor Booker hasn't gotten as much time which has hurt his ability to generate hustle points. None is a threat to score more than a couple buckets a game. Seraphin is the best offensive option. 

"Me being a leader, I tell him, Book and those other guys always be ready," Wall said earlier in the week when asked about the bench's production. "You never know when your time may come."