A return home could provide a welcome respite for a team that has opened the season on a franchise-worst 0-6 start. After playing four of their first six games on the road, the Wizards will play four of the next five — including the next three — at Verizon Center, beginning on Friday against New York.
Since John Wall was drafted No. 1 overall, the Wizards are 3-42 on the road, but a more encouraging 20-23 at home. Three of the their four road losses have been decided by 18 or more points, including a103-85 loss in Orlando, where they closed out the game on a 10-0 run to avoid a more embarrassing finish.
The Wizards have lost their first two games at home this season, but they have avoided losing by double-digits in each game, and have played two of their best stretches of basketball. They jumped out to a 21-point lead in the season opener against New Jersey and they outscored Boston 52-43 in the second half last Sunday. But they aren’t relying on the comfort of home to lead to different results.
“That ain’t going to change nothing if we keep playing the same way. We can still go out and lose them games, too,” Jordan Crawford said after the loss on Wednesday. “So I mean that homestand got nothing to do with it. It’s us in here, the players. It’s still early in the season but I know we the only team without a win. If we can keep working, I know we can turn it around.”
Although the Wizards were playing their third game in four days, Rashard Lewis wasn’t going to use that as the reason why they allowed the Magic to become the fourth team to score more than 100 points against them. That wasn’t why Magic power forward Ryan Anderson had more points (23) and rebounds (15) than the Wizards’ front line of Lewis, Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee combined (22 points, 14 rebounds). And it also wasn’t the reason the Wizards shot below 40 percent for the third time this season.
“It’s not legs at all,” Lewis said. “I think everybody has a rough schedule. No excuses for that. If anything, Orlando has played a lot more games the past week or so that we did. We are a young team looking for direction. We went out and laid an egg.”
The Wizards’ past four opponents – Atlanta (4-2), Milwaukee (2-3), Boston (4-3) and Orlando (5-2) – have a combined winning percentage of .600. The Wizards’ next three opponents – New York (2-4), Minnesota (3-3) and Toronto (3-3) – have a combined winning percentage of .444. But Wall said the lopsided loss to Orlando served as a reminder that the opponent won’t matter if the Wizards don’t come to play.
“It’s disappointing. You still got to compete, no matter who it is. If it’s Kobe Bryant, Derek Rose, you got to compete every night. And we didn’t compete” Wall said. “All you can do is move forward. It’s something you don’t want to think about, but like we did with the road games last year, we’ve got to look past it and find a way to win.”