Morning tip: Wizards' defense continues to soften

Morning tip: Wizards' defense continues to soften
November 2, 2013, 6:15 pm
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Beal: Wizards 'lackadaisical' in loss to 76ers

For the lowest scoring team in the NBA last season, points haven't been a problem.

The Wizards have scored 102 in each of their two losses -- the second one without Nene -- going into Sunday's game at the Miami Heat (CSN, 6 p.m. ET). 

"If we play good offense, we play good defense. If we struggle a little bit offensively, we play zero defense. Your offense can't run your defense. It's got to be the other way around," coach Randy Wittman said after practice Saturday, before departing for Miami. "Our defense has got to fuel our offense and we're playing the opposite. … Have a bad shooting night, we miss six, seven shots in a row as a team, we just let it suck every bit of energy out from us which affects the other end.

"That's fixable. We haven't really changed anything. It's not like we stuck in a whole new system defensively that its going to take time to adjust to what we're doing. They've proven it."

He's correct. The Wizards shot 52.2% and scored 28 points in the fourth quarter of Friday's surprising loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, who trailed most of the game by double-digits. But they allowed the Sixers to shoot 65.2% and score 35 points. 

"It's easier to say I'm going to go out and outscore you 120 to 118. Easy to do that. You want to win defensively? It's hard. It takes guts," Wittman said in an exasperated tone after the Sixers loss. "A willingness to grind it out and look at me and say, 'I need a rest coach.' We're not willing to pay that price. We're not. Until we are, we're not good enough to outscore a team 118-116. We're not good enough. I got to find at least five that has the guts and courage to lay it on the line defensively every night."

Wittman's players didn't disagree with his sense of urgency:

Bradley Beal: "It's just our mentality. We came out here and did something totally different (defensively). Things we haven't been doing since open gym in the summer. Just random things like that. We need to stick to our principles. At the end of the day, we're not doing that. Last year we were a top 10 defensive team and we're not showing it." 

Trevor Ariza: "We need a win. Doesn't matter what part of the season it is, you have to win. That's the approach I try to take. That's the approach I feel that we all have to take. If not that's what we need to get (mentally). Losing is not fun. Last year, we lost a lot. I think it's time for a change. Losing is not fun by any means. Whatever it takes to get a win we got to do it."

Trevor Booker: "It's pretty much its been putting two halves together. To good halves. We come out flat one half, have a good half. To put two good halves together and we should be fine. We should be tired of losing. I know I'm tired of losing. I'm not sure what it is. We do a decent job of it in practice. For instance (Saturday), everybody had energy. I'm not sure if it was the loss (Friday) that provided the energy or what. But we need to have that same kind of energy in the game."