Less than 24 hours after the Wizards’ Game 2 loss at Indiana, coach Randy Wittman used the words desperate and desperation during his media session at the Verizon Center.
Don’t fret. Wittman remains in positive mode with the series tied at 1-1 and heading into Friday’s Game 3.
“Coming back home, we should feel good,” the coach said.
Splitting the first two games in Indiana with a chance to win both, the Wizards certainly didn’t look like the underdog no matter the seeding. That works out great because Wittman doesn’t believe in the underdog term. This is where his use of “desperate” comes in.
“We're at our best when we play desperate and I want us to continue that,” Wittman said following practice. “When we do that, a lot of good things happen. Underdog ... Your bookie might like it better. I like to use the term desperate. Let's play desperate and have an understanding (of) where we're at.”
The idea of where the team was at in those final few minutes of the 86-82 loss led to talk of desperation. Washington trailed 82-79 with 2:57 left following Paul George’s layup. The Wizards missed their next five shots. Issues stemmed less from the clanking and more from the rushed nature of some of the attempts. John Wall missed two 3-pointers in that stretch.
“It was 82-79 for a long period. I thought we let them off the hook on a couple offensive rebounds that we got. A lot of times John attacks…and then maybe finds a 3-point shooter or he drops off to a big or gets to the rim,” Wittman said.
“We played those possessions like there were 10 seconds left. …It almost felt like desperation on a couple of those possessions.”
Wall stood tall when asked about those shots.
“I really liked the second 3 I took. I liked that one better than the first one I took when we got an offensive rebound [with 2:25 left],” said the point guard, who finished 2 of 13 from the field. “That was the worst one of all of them to me. The [first] one it was in rhythm, I was open in transition. I’ll take that shot again. The other one I was really frustrated about.”
Meanwhile the coach offered no hint of frustration with his floor leader.
“John is going to be ready to,” Wittman stated. “I’m not worried at all. John was in here early today. He’s not happy. Obviously he’s a competitor. I bet he wished we were playing tonight rather than [Friday].”
Sounds like a player desperate to redeem his on-court sins.