So much for everybody “eating” in Washington without All-Star point guard John Wall healthy and in the lineup. The Wizards aren’t rolling like they were weeks ago, when they found a sweet spot as a group without their leader and floor general in the lineup due to injury. They’ve come back down from that temporary rise, losers of three straight after Sunday’s humbling at the hands of Wall’s former backup Trey Burke and the New York Knicks.
Instead of boasting about how well they were all playing when few thought they could, the Wizards are back to firing their shots verbally. Only this time, writes Candace Buckner of The Washington Post, they’ve turned their sights on the guys in uniform and healthy. All-Star swingman Bradley Beal, never one to hold his tongue, was pointed in his criticism after this latest setback:
New York Knicks guard Trey Burke shot a look at the Washington Wizards’ bench, a staredown that he probably has been saving for the entire 2017-18 season.
In the closing seconds Sunday night, when Burke, who spent one year in Washington as a backup point guard, moved around a reaching Kelly Oubre Jr. and scored the back-breaking layup against his former team, he appeared to flex his arms ever so slightly toward the silenced baseline fans. But he saved the dagger for his stunned former teammates on the sideline, giving a look that provided the finishing touches to a night inside Capital One Arena that ended in boos.
Fans voiced their displeasure with the 101-97 loss, then Bradley Beal expressed his own with colorful comments about the team’s apparent lack of urgency with only nine games remaining on the schedule.
“We looked like we didn’t give a damn, honestly,” Beal said. “We just thought we could show up and play because they don’t have anything to play for. So, we just thought it was going to be a cakewalk, and [the Knicks] smacked us in the mouth.”
The long nights, a constant hum of lethargy in offensive sets and untimely defensive mistakes have begun to wear down the Wizards (40-33). But after Sunday’s loss, the team’s third straight, mental fatigue reached a new low.
Just before fouling late in the game when the Wizards “can’t foul in that situation, we can’t do it,” Coach Scott Brooks stressed later, Oubre attempted his sixth three-pointer of the night as his team held a one-point lead. However, like the previous five deep looks, this one clanked off the rim, and the miss set up Burke’s go-ahead drive and three-point play with 35 seconds remaining.
Bradley and Tomas after a frustrating loss to the Knicks #WizKnicks pic.twitter.com/OP70G9p8Zb
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) March 26, 2018
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