A strength of the Wizards has been their bench since late February when Andre Miller and Drew Gooden were acquired.
In this second-round series with the Indiana Pacers, however, key contributors havebeen mostly absent. Gooden had 12 points and 13 rebounds in the Game 1 upset in Indiana, but not much else has gone well.
The reserves contributed just eight points in Friday’s 85-63 loss in Game 3 to the Pacers to fall down 2-1 in the series.
“It’s just a team effort. Coach is going heavy minutes with the starters,” said Miller, who had 10 clutch points in a Game 1 upset of the Chicago Bulls in the first round but hasn’t played more than 12 minutes vs. Indiana. “When we get in there for the little amount of time we just have to make the best of it. It’s just a bad team effort we got to make up the next game.”
Martell Webster, who is supposed to be the three-point striker to fill in behind Bradley Beal and Trevor Ariza, has disappeared. He only has scored five points in three games this round. Coach Randy Wittman attributed his struggles, in part, to not looking for his shot enough.
Gooden had just one point Friday. He has jumped Trevor Booker in the rotation because he’s bigger and longer and presents a better matchup for the Pacers’ size in the paint. Gooden has tallied six points in the last two games. Booker earned most of the time in the series with Chicago because he was a better matchup vs. the more athletic Taj Gibson.
“This is what the playoffs is about. It’s not going to be easy,” said Gooden. “We knew that coming in. We were very confident, maybe overly confident coming into this game, thinking we were going to take the Pacers and put them down early. We definitely can’t let them dictate what we want to run offensively.”