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Sliding Wizards left searching for internal answers

By Tim Price, for
Posted Nov 24 2009 11:22AM

SAN ANTONIO -- Emotions on the Washington Wizards seem to be boiling over after the team suffered its season-worst margin of defeat on consecutive nights, this time absorbing a 106-84 loss to the Spurs on Saturday.

Wizards coach Flip Saunders said changes in the lineup can be expected when the team plays its next game at home Tuesday against Philadelphia. The team is off Sunday and has a practice scheduled Monday.

"We have guys that are frustrated that they're not playing and I'm sure they are sitting there wanting opportunities," Saunders said. "And guys will get opportunities starting Monday because we're not getting it done as it is right now."

The Wizards (3-9) have lost eight of nine games. Against San Antonio they shot a season-worst 33 percent. Perhaps more embarrassingly, they had just as many turnovers as assists (nine) heading into the fourth quarter before finishing with 12 assists to nine turnovers by the end of the game.

Gilbert Arenas said players on the team had "hidden agendas," noting that eight players on the team are free agents following the season.

"I guess when you start losing everyone wants to start pointing fingers everywhere else," Arenas said. "I converted my game to try to get people involved, but at the end of the day, to be honest, this is the same team since three years ago. We added a couple of pieces, but everybody else is basically the same player.

"I'm sitting here thinking 'Do I have to go in attack mode like I was two years ago to get us over this hump?' I hope not. I hope we're strong enough mentally that we can get over this."

Arenas leads the team in total points and assists. But heading into Saturday's game he had taken 55 more shots than the next player.

When asked about sacrificing his game in order for the team to win, Arenas replied, "I think the only person who actually had to sacrifice is me. Everybody else can just play their game."

That's not sitting well with at least one player. Wizards center Brendan Haywood said players need to "check their ego at the door."

"It's very frustrating because our talent isn't winning over our egos," Haywood said. "If you normally score 20 and you don't get your 20 but the team wins, who cares? Let's try and win.

"That's what the Celtics do. Paul Pierce can have 12 in the fourth quarter. [But] if they're up, he don't care. That's what we gotta do. Check your ego at the door. Move the ball. Play some defense."

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