Sunday January 8, 2011 4:58 p.m.
By Frank Hanrahan
"Until we fight through adversity, we will never win on the road," Wizards coach Flip Saunders said after another loss, this time at Charlotte 104-89 on Saturday night. "We got to get tougher on the road." The Wizards have been anything but tough away from Verizon Center, upping their futility mark to 0-18 on the road.
It's the same old script too. The Wizards keep it close until the fourth quarter and then they fade miserably. After leading Charlotte 71-70 late in the third quarter, the Wizards were outscored 33-19 by the Bobcats.
"One of the reasons we can't win on the road is because they play different on the road than they play at home," a clearly frustrated Saunders said about his team. "We got to start getting some consistency or we got to get some other players to play in there because we cant just go out there and not play with a purpose at times."
Clearly, Saunders is frustrated with young players like center JaVale McGee who can show flashes of fantastic at home but then performs below sub par on the road. After posting 15 points 7 rebounds and 6 blocks against the Nets in a win at home Friday night, McGee had just 8 points and one rebound and 2 blocks versus Charlotte.
After beating New Jersey, there was some optimism that the Wizards could muster that first road win at Charlotte. Saunders spoke at length after the New Jersey game about the evolution of becoming a good team.
"First thing you do is beat the teams you are supposed to beat at home and your competitive against some of the good teams and then you start beating them at home," Saunders said. "The next step is that you starting beating bad teams on the road. The third step is you beat good teams at home and then if you really want to be good you go on the road and beat good teams and that's where you can get up and win 55 to 60 games. Right now we are at step one."
If the Wizards are at step one, they should beat lowly Sacramento at home Tuesday night. As for the next step and beating a bad Minnesota team on the road on Thursday, that would finally be a step in the right direction.