Wake-up call: Bench falls asleep at the wheel

Wake-up call: Bench falls asleep at the wheel
January 21, 2014, 6:00 am
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In exactly one minute after checking in, Otto Porter shot free throws after he was fouled on a three-point attempt. He made two of them to give the Wizards a 21-point lead again. Less than three minutes later, however, the lead was shaved by 11 points by the Philadelphia 76ers and Porter and his fellow reserves were on the bench for good.

It proved to be a major step back for the reserves, most of whom can't find consistent minutes in the rotation. The Wizards (20-20) had four consecutive turnovers during that stretch, three coming from the Porter, Kevin Seraphin and Chris Singleton. 

"Those guys got to learn. Guys that want to play or think they should be in rotations better show me out there where it counts. That's the bottom line. You're always on audition," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said after the 107-99 victory. "You got to be ready to play each and every day. I've been in this league for 30 years and I've seen some wild things where you think a game is over. It's not over. Maybe that's a good thing for our guys.

"I think our guys thought when we got up 21 there that the game was over. We're throwing half-court alley-oop passes that are going into the upper deck, turning and throwing (the ball) to the other team. ... When you're called upon that's an audition each and every time especially if you're not getting a lot of minutes. We're in this stretch in January where I don't have a lot of practice time where I can watch you compete. You got to use that time."

When the Wizards went into the half with a 61-51 lead, they only had five turnovers. They ended the game with 16 (half by the reserves). Seraphin was the spark off the bench with 16 points on 6-for-10 shooting, but everyone else combined to go just 5-for-17. 

"I know it's tough sometimes with guys not getting a lot of minutes and worrying about playing time when you're used to playing a lot," said point John Wall, who re-entered the fourth quarter with 3:36 remaining. "(They need to) show coach and those guys you're going out there and competing and playing the right way."