Caught on a Slide
Wizards look to change team culture.
by Nick Wilke / @njwilke
The Washington Wizards fell to 0-6 on Wednesday night with their 103-85 loss to the Orlando Magic, making them the only team left in the NBA without a victory.
The Wizards got off to a very slow start, missing their first 12 shots and falling behind 9-0 within the first four minutes and ended the quarter down 31-14. They struggled mightily from the floor in the first quarter, shooting just 6-28 (21.4 percent). The team’s two leading scorers, Nick Young and John Wall, were a combined 0-11 in the quarter.
Their shooting did get better as the game went on, but the Wizards never got within 13 points of the Magic.
“I can’t even judge where we’re at,” said Washington Coach Flip Saunders. “We’re getting off to such bad starts. If you’re 0-12 to start the game and you can’t make shots it sucks the energy out of you, but when you fall behind so far you can’t see where you’re at.”
The Wizards were coming off a lost to the Boston Celtics where they had a lead going into the fourth, but Ray Allen took over the game and led the Celtics to a victory. The Wizards were looking to play with that same mentality against the Magic, but once again, they came up short.
The loss was especially hard to take for starting forward Rashard Lewis, who made his return to Orlando for the first time since he was traded to the Wiz in December 2010.
“It’s very tough,” said Lewis, who finished with 6 points and 4 rebounds. “I was looking forward to this game just because of the fact that we played awesome in Boston. We played hard, we played together, we played defense, we moved the ball on the offensive end. Tonight was totally different from the way we played in Boston. Tonight we just made it easy for them.”
Lewis, a 13-year veteran, has had to change his game to try to fit in with this young Wizards team.
“It’s tough with such a young team,” Lewis said. “I thought nobody came to compete and it makes it even tough for me to go out there and play hard when I’m not the focal point on the offensive end. It’s just sloppy basketball all-around.”
Saunders noted that changes to the starting lineup could be coming soon in order to solve the slow start problem.
“We’re gonna have to do something with our starters personnel-wise. Somehow we gotta have some juice to start games,” Saunders said.
Second-year guard Jordan Crawford was noticeably upset after the loss, but is confident that the team can get out of the slump.
“It’s sad right now,” said Crawford. “It’s bad, but we gotta keep working hard. It’s still early in the season and I know we’re the only team without a win, but if we keep working, we can turn it around.”
The Wizards will look to get a win against the struggling Knicks on Friday night at Madison Square Garden.