If Randy Wittman has said it once he’s said it 30 times.
If the Wizards are going to win games with a patchwork lineup they’re going to need to avoid the long stretches of uninspired basketball that lead to huge deficits.
“For us it’s the same thing over and over,” Wittman said Wednesday night following the Wizards’ 89-81 loss to the Pacers in Indiana.
“We always have a stretch that is just horrendous. It’s not a normal ebb and flow, where you get outscored six or eight, you get back in the game, start playing well and make your adjustments.
“It’s 17, 18-point [deficits]. We talked about that [Wednesday] morning. We call a timeout, say, ‘All right, it stops here. We’re going to end it here.’”
And then they don’t.
“Tonight it was the start of the game,” Wittman said. “We were down 17. You can’t have that drastic of a deficit at some point in the game and win these games.”
The Wizards, now 4-26 through 30 games, were behind 14-2 against the Pacers [19-13] before most of the fans had found their seats. The Pacers’ Paul George scored 10 of his game-high 29 points in that first quarter as the Wizards were outscored 31-18 in those first 12 minutes, despite a hasty timeout called by Wittman.
“I’m gonna call [NBA commissioner David] Stern tomorrow and see if I can maybe buy some [more],” Wittman said of his timeouts. “I’d pay a lot for a couple extra timeouts.”
The Wizards were led offensively by Jordan Crawford [20 points], Kevin Seraphin  and Nene [15 points], but did not have enough firepower to get a lead the entire game.
“Credit to Washington for hanging in there when they were down big early," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said.
The Wizards are now 1-14 on the road this season and have lost 11 of their last 12 games overall, including three straight.
Against the Pacers they simply didn’t go to the basket hard enough to get to the foul line.
The Wizards shot just 8-for-10 from the line as a team, with Crawford [5-for-7] and Nene [3-for-3] the only Wizards going to the line.
By comparison the Pacers had seven players go to the free throw line a total of 31 times [26 makes].
Chris Singleton returned to the lineup for the Wizards to score four points and was a plus-5 in 14 minutes of action, but the Wizards’ starting five of Martell Webster, Nene, Emeka Okafor, Bradley Beal and Garrett Temple was a combined minus-59.
“They’re a physical team,” Wittman said. “When you start the game like that it’s going to snowball.”
Wittman was so disappointed in his team’s performance against the Pacers he had trouble heaping praise on Beal for winning NBA Rookie of the Month honors for December.
“I’m proud of him to get that honor,” Wittman said. “It shows he’s coming along and now he’s got to continue to do that. He needs to strive to have that every month and play up to that caliber. It’s a good honor for him. Now he’s got to take it another step.”