It’s hard to imagine it’s only the Wizards fourth home game but this three-week old season is already starting to feel like an eternity. It’s not a new story to lament a Wizards team that is slow out of the gate. Last year’s team lost eight games in a row before their first win and the team in 2010 started the season 2-6.
Well Washington can add another game to the loss column as the Wizards lose their ninth straight game to the Indiana Pacers 96-89.
The team has struggled to find consistency in all facets of their play. Coach Randy Wittman has been left with the task of filling in the holes left by starters John Wall and Nene, who are still recovering from pre-season injuries. Wittman looked resigned at the end of the night as it was clear he still hasn’t figured out the answer to that question.
“I mean we got to figure out how to play a game- a whole game,” Wittman said in the post-game press conference.
Much like the other games so far this season, Washington was slow coming out of the gate. After quickly falling behind the Pacers by as much as 19 points in the second quarter, the Wizards clawed their way to within nine at the half. Jordan Crawford carried the team in the first half with 11 points. He ended the night with 11 points. He was the most productive member of a starting line-up that included Sophomore Jan Vesely and new arrivals AJ Price, Trevor Ariza, and Emeka Okafor. To say the starting unit under-performed would be an understatement. The newly dubbed “Okariza” combination (h/t Carla Peay) combined for 22 minutes and seven points. Both were nowhere to be seen in the final quarter of the game.
“I don’t know who to start, who to play, who not to play… it’s a confusion of different guys every game…we have no consistency in our group of play,” muttered Wittman, “It’s just so inconsistent in the play. Top to bottom.”
The ups and downs continued in the second half, the team struggled to close the gap and were back where they started late into the third quarter, down by as much as 20. Washington wouldn’t go down without a fight though and once again climbed back to within four by the end of the third. Much of the production came from two newer players. Newly signed Shaun Livingston facilitated the action racking up three assists and six points in the third quarter. First round draft pick Bradley Beal scored nine points to his name in the third. Beal led the Wizards with 18 total points.
Down the home stretch the Wizards tried for the comeback but only got as close as one when Chris Singleton hit a pull-up jumper with 3:30 left in the game. Indiana would fend off Washington, with a 6-4 run anchored by David West, who carried the Pacers with 30 points and 12 rebounds.
With 12 out of 13 players seeing action last night, 11 of them with double-digit minutes, it looks like Wittman is still searching for that combo of players that can produce for all 48 minutes of the game.
“I’m looking down the whole roster, and if I had a cell phone I’m calling the waiver wire, finding another body. I’m just searching. Searching for people to give me consistency.”