BOSTON, Ma. – Wizards’ coach Randy Wittman was a little testy to open the post-game press conference after the Wizards blew another double-digit lead to lose a game in the closing seconds.
“Next question,” Wittman responded, when asked how that happened. But Wittman loosened up, and gave his assessment of exactly what did happen.
“The ball has to get inside more – inside out,” Wittman said. We are never going to get to the foul line by playing out on the perimeter at the three-point line.”
The Wizards have played just three games with their new lineup, with Nene patrolling the post instead of JaVale McGee, and they will have to make adjustments quickly.
Nene got no touches in the last four minutes of the game, while Jordan Crawford continued jacking up shots, and going cold in the fourth quarter. The Wizards no longer have to worry about the ball going inside, and never coming out again, so using their bigs in the post is critical.
The savvy, veteran, playoff-bound Celtics won’t allow the Wizards to get away with any mistakes.
The Celtics are hanging on to the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference, and could be facing their own version of a rebuild after this season.
Talented but moody point guard Rajon Rondo was the subject of trade rumors for most of the season, and the Big Three of Kevin Garnett, 35, Ray Allen, 36, and Paul Pierce, 34, are all at that age where their best years are behind, and not in front of them.
But all three are perennial All-Stars, and are smart, talented players who have forgotten more basketball than some of the Wizards’ young players have learned yet.
The Celtics are coming off of a loss on Friday night in Philadelphia, and have to travel to Charlotte to play the Bobcats on Monday. Celtics coach Doc Rivers will want to put the Wizards away as early as possible.
As for the Wizards, they’ll want to erase the memory of their last two games with a better outing on Sunday night.
“The good thing about this is we got another one tomorrow [Sunday] and another one on Monday,” Wittman said after Saturday’s loss to Atlanta.
“Not that we’re going to sleep very much anyway, but we don’t have to think about this one too long.”
“We pocket the good and the bad and learn from it. As we move forward the next year and the year after, when these kids get older, this is going to be stuff they draw back on, and then they’re going to be in that position kicking somebody else’s butt.”