Washington Wizards Coach Randy Wittman has been tinkering with his starting lineup much of this season, and on Monday night against the San Antonio Spurs, he used his fourth different group.
But the results were the same as usual in a 118-92 loss that included the starters shooting 21 for 49, with rookie Bradley Beal missing 9 of 13 shots and new acquisitions Emeka Okafor and forward Trevor Ariza, both set to earn a combined $43 million over two years, totaling nine points.
“It’s a learning process,” Wittman said after the Wizards extended their franchise-worst start to 0-12. “We are trying to get them to play with movement and passing rather than dribbling. It’s habits that we are continuously trying to break.”
There were some encouraging moments from starting forward Kevin Seraphin, who finished with 18 points, seven rebounds, four steals and two blocks. He scored six of the Wizards’ first nine points and finished 9 for 19 from the field.
But overall the starting unit was no match for that of the Spurs, who got 15 points from point guard Tony Parker, 14 from center Tim Duncan and 13 from guard Gary Neal. San Antonio’s starters combined to shoot 21 for 41, and none played for longer than 26 minutes 6 seconds.
“I think we did a decent job,” said Wizards starting point guard A.J. Price, who had 11 points and a team-high seven assists and five rebounds in 33 minutes. “But it’s not a total team effort. As a team we didn’t do well enough by any stretch.”
Beal made his 10th start of the season and when asked about this current group of starters, he shrugged. The No. 3 overall pick in the NBA draft finished with 11 points, three rebounds, two steals and one assist in nearly 30 and a half minutes.
Beal scored in double figures for the third time in four games and made his third consecutive start after last coming off the bench on Nov. 19 in a 96-89 loss to the Indiana Pacers. Beal scored a team-high 18 points in that game.
“It’s what coach wants, I guess,” Beal said of the starting lineup. “I really don’t have a say so in it. We got off to a pretty good start. We were in it at halftime. They took off in the second half. That’s just coach making adjustments. I’m not sure what he wants to do or who he’s going to have in what moment in time, you just have to always be ready.”