Upon reflection, Randy Wittman lightened up a touch regarding the Wizards offensive execution in Monday's 95-94 loss to the Kings. Credit the goodness of the free flowing first half offsetting the off-kilter stretch after halftime.
With Emeka Okafor and John Wall making 13 of 16 field goals, the Wizards shot 56.1 percent before halftime and led 57-53.
"We actually had some very good ball movement. It wasn't like we went through a complete game where we kind of fell backwards in that aspect, "Randy Wittman said. "Both from an offensive and a defensive, I really thought that the first half was kind of like a pickup game. You can score I can score. We walked into halftime everybody was feeling good about themselves, 57 points."
Certainly Okafor was after tallying 14 of his 23 points in the first quarter. The veteran center also grabbed 15 rebounds for his 10th double-double in the last 19 games.
“You have quarters like that. I wish I can have them more often,” a chuckling Okafor said following Tuesday's practice. “But when you’re rolling and everything is going your way, you just go with it.”
On some level, a just go with it mindset got the Wizards into trouble over the final two quarters on both ends of the court. Washington scored 37 second-half points on 38.9 percent shooting and had no answer for Sacramento guard Isaiah Thomas, who scored 10 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter including the game-winning floater with 1.9 seconds left.
"We got knocked off our rhythm," said Martell Webster, who scored 18 points including the tying basket with 7.9 seconds left.
"Offense, we were scoring, but when you play against a team that their whole mindset is scoring and getting up shots quick, at a high rate, it’s usually tough to play with teams like that, if that’s not the way your system is built. And our focus was primarily on the offensive end, when it should’ve been on the defense. Getting those guys out of rhythm, making them take tough shots. What the game plan was and we didn’t get too that at all last night. It ended up kicking us."
Because the issues were more about approach than scheme - and because the Wizards offense has been rather proficient during the current seven wins in 11 games stretch - Wittman preached a consistency message.
"We're just not good enough to turn it on and turn it off," Wittman said. "We put ourselves in a position and it cost us in the end. It wasn't anything particular on the floor that we needed to breakdown. I think they just needed to see it more for themselves.
Washington (11-32) remains last in the NBA in offensive rating at 95.2. Wednesday's opponent, the Philadelphia 76ers (18-26), rank 23rd with 99.9