Trevor Booker: "We're going through a difficult time"
There's something not quite right with Wizards center Marcin Gortat, who wasn't available for the second game in a row following a lackluster performance in another home defeat. Gortat was benched in the third quarter, playing less than four minutes in the second half, of a 112-96 loss to the Golden State Warriors.
Gortat was nowhere to be found postgame, which is a stark contrast to his demeanor earlier in the season when he was playing well. Gortat, however, did speak after Monday's practice.
"We embarrassed ourselves with the last two performances, especially here at home," he said. "We owe big apologies to our fans for the performance we had last night. Hopefully we're going to get some wins in a row. We're coming out flat without the right focus. We're forgetting the game is 48 minutes."
Here's a snapshot about why he probably wasn't around Sunday:
Trailing 60-58 to start the third quarter, John Wall dumped the ball inside to Gortat, who faced up against Andrew Bogut with 12 seconds left on the shot clock. Gortat tried to make a move but lost the handle. He regained it and turned baseline, but Bogut was there to shut him down. So Gortat turned back to the inside and threw up a twisting, one-handed, contested fallaway shot. Needless to say it was an airball.
Gortat sagged on Bogut on the ensuing possession and he nailed the jumper for a 62-58 lead. Wittman called a quick timeout. Standing in the middle of the huddle, Wittman spent a lot of time talking to Gortat, who would then take a dish from Beal and attack the rim for a layup that was blocked by Bogut. It led to a runout by Stephen Curry for a 64-58 lead.
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Gortat set a screen for John Wall, who pulled up for the mid-range jumper. However, the 6-11, 240-pound center didn't continue running towards the basket. It was an easy rebound for Bogut, who wasn't contested by Gortat and had teammate David Lee sealing off Trevor Booker.
After Klay Thompson's three-pointer put the Warriors ahead 69-58 at 8:27 of the third, there was a timeout again and Gortat took a seat on the bench and never returned.
When asked about Gortat's playing time (20 minutes), Wittman provided no insight. “He didn’t play because we were down 25. I had to look to make changes. That’s coaching," Wittman said when specifically asked about what appeared to be a spirited conversation with Gortat after the bad shot attempt. "I have to do that.”
Gortat finished with six rebounds. He hasn't had double digits in rebounding for six consecutive games.
The game was in reach at 92-81 on a dunk by Nene with 9:24 left, but instead of Gortat, Booker and Jan Vesely got the nod from Wittman.
The best way to fix all of this is by winning, starting with Tuesday's game at the Charlotte Bobcats (CSN, 7 p. m. ET).
Gortat appears to be one of the players Wittman is referring to when he laments about offensive woes negatively impacting defensive effort, but he insisted after Monday's practice that he wasn't singling out any player but the first unit as a whole.