Nene had been playing well and was instrumental in helping the Wizards push the Hawks to a second overtime in three games against them — he scored 18 points and slid in front of Hawks guard Jeff Teague and took a charge with 2.7 seconds remaining in regulation, giving his team a chance to win. So, Wittman had no desire to pull him.
Wittman was so agitated that he needed to turn around and address the issue with his angry detractors, who apparently haven’t been paying attention to how Nene has been utilized the past month as he deals with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. “C’mon will you guys please report that this guy’s on a minute limit?” Wittman said after the game, seeking some assistance from reporters. “They’re killing me.”
Monitoring Nene’s minutes has been a difficult task for Wittman, and one that the he is not accustomed to doing. But he has proven all season that he is willing to switch up his rotation when he needs players who will give him better production.
Wittman is hoping that this next set of four games in five nights will give the team a better feel for how to utilize Nene the rest of the season.
“You don’t want to add minutes to a brutal schedule. We’ll see when we get through this schedule here, after Christmas, seeing where we’re at in terms of adding,” Wittman said. “But yeah, I anticipate that’s the direction we’re headed in, of those minutes starting to increase.”
Katie Carrera contributed to this report.