The Wizards season preparations began with training camp back in September. Then came 78 games over seven months, tons of travel and umpteen practices in between. Factor in those bad beats like the 94-88 overtime loss Washington suffered Wednesday night at home, there's more than enough to drive one mad.
Randy Wittman is no exception.
Asked following Thursday's practice at the Verizon Center if he sought any counsel or advice from other coaches heading into his first postseason as a head coach, Wittman cracked, "I need counseling. There is no question about that. If you got a good one that I can lay on the couch with, let me know. I'll take full advantage of."
Nobody would argue with Wittman if he truly sought out therapy after the Wizards' latest Jekyll and Hyde performance. The result dropped Washington (40-38) into a tie for sixth place with Charlotte. However, the Bobcats clinched the season series with the victory. They now own the head-to-head playoff tiebreaker.
For the second straight game, Washington trailed by double figures in the first quarter thanks to a lethargic start and knockdown shooting from the opponent.
Charlotte opened a 50-30 lead in the second quarter. Then the Wizards started playing defense, then they started rallying. Washington took its first lead of the game midway through the fourth quarter and was up 87-85 with 9.9 seconds left. Then the Bobcats scored to force overtime. Then Wizards missed all eight of their field goal attempts in the extra session.
Missing shots wasn't limited to overtime. The Wizards finished 1 of 15 from beyond the 3-point arc.
Wittman refused to limit the rationale for losing to those constant clanks.
"It doesn't boil down to that, making or missing shots like that," he said. "You're going to have games where you got 1 for 15 and you've got to be able to survive those. I think if we had a first half like we did a second half with the intensity and defensive effort that we did then the outcome might have been different going 1 for 15. Shooting comes and goes. When you're a good team, you figure how to win those games."
Thursday's combination of on-court work and film study focused on doing just that. Washington plays at the Orlando Magic on Friday.
"We just looked at all positive things, what we did right and what we're capable of doing," said Bradley Beal, who scored eight points on 4 of 15 shooting against Charlotte. "The way we defended in the third quarter, I think we held them scoreless for like four minutes or so. Whenever we do that, we're a good team. I think we just have to continue to have that mentality that we have to start that way. We can't get down such large deficits."