The Wizards are nonetheless in the hunt for a treatment for his or her defensive malaise


Harrison Barnes scored 31 factors within the Mavericks’ 113-99 win Tuesday. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

During the Washington Wizards’ final three residence losses, somebody has stood victoriously within the customer’s locker room and responded to questions on his large scoring evening.

On Nov. 1 after back-cutting the Wizards to oblivion and usually outworking each defender for a career- and game-high 40 factors, Phoenix Suns ahead T.J. Warren proclaimed, “everything was just falling.”

Last Friday Cleveland’s LeBron James adopted his 57-point evening, the best level complete scored inside Capital One Arena, by turning the Wizards’ defensive effort right into a scripted punchline: “I badumed I used to be going to get some double crew coming sooner or later. You understand how they are saying we going to reside with it? [shrug] I suppose they lived with it.”

By Tuesday, it was Harrison Barnes’s flip after his Dallas Mavericks turned the third consecutive opponent to dismantle the Wizards’ protection in a win. Though averaging 17.three factors per recreation coming in, Barnes hit his mid-range seems to be and labored within the low submit and left aspect to attain a season-high 31.

“I guess they didn’t think I was a good [isolation] scorer,” Barnes stated after the Mavericks’ 113-99 win. “I had to make them pay.”

[Wizards struggle defensively in disappointing home loss to NBA-worst Mavericks]

While three separate opposing gamers have had motive to beat their chest, the Wizards have looked for solutions. Nothing has defined away the shortage of defensive effort inside Capital One Arena.

At the beginning of the season, Bradley Beal authorised of the sector nickname “The Vault,” saying, “We got to lock up the defense. We got to lock up our house. This is our house.” So a lot for residence safety. For three straight losses in Washington, the Wizards have allowed 121.6 factors per recreation and seemingly had no responsive technique towards a single participant on a tear.

“It’s pretty much the same as all our losses,” Beal stated. “We didn’t play hard. They outworked us. We didn’t defend. That’s plain and simple. You don’t win if you don’t defend.”

Weary of the Mavericks’ three-point shooters, Washington selected to not double crew Barnes. The crew determined to reside together with his lengthy twos and soar pictures. The solely downside: Barnes not solely had an enormous evening, however the Wizards allowed Wesley Matthews to drill 4 of the crew’s 11 threes and rookie Dennis Smith Jr. to attain 9 factors within the first quarter.

Smith’s barrage continued the troubling pattern of dangerous begins for the Wizards. The Cavaliers scored 42 within the first quarter throughout their nationally-televised recreation final week. Tuesday, Dallas, one of many lowest scoring groups within the league, breezed to 36 factors via the opening 12 minutes.

[After large win, Marcin Gortat suggests Wizards to turn into a ‘more humble team’]

While the blame will be handed across the 11 gamers who checked into the sport, a lot of the duty belongs to the scoring-obsessed starters.

When requested about Otto Porter Jr’s environment friendly evening on restricted pictures (13 factors on 5 on eight from the ground), Coach Scott Brooks entertained the inquiry for a second then added the mbadive “but.”

“I love Otto and what he does but it’s about defense. Otto needs to be a better defender just like the rest of the guys,” Brooks stated. “Our starters, March, Keef, Brad and John, they need to start the game off with better defense. It’s not on offense. We scored 34 points first quarter.”

Each starter — Beal, Porter, John Wall, Marcin Gortat and Markieff Morris — registered adverse plus-minus numbers Tuesday, and the Wizards by no means held a lead towards the 2-10 Mavericks.

It was the kind of win that gives a life preserver to a struggling crew.

“We will take the win wherever and whenever we get it,” the Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki stated.

And for the crew within the residence locker room, this was the type of loss that begs for private accountability.

“It’s just a matter of us looking ourselves in the mirror individually and again as a team to see where we want to go, see the things that we’ve accomplished last year and be hungry for it,” Beal stated. “We’ve got to get hungry again. I think we’re a great team but we got to act like a great team and go out there and prove it.”

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