Randy Wittman recently requested the assistance of an exorcist to help the Wizards recover from their bad run of the luck. They need some help, because the hits keep coming.
The Wizards (3-19) will be without rookie Bradley Beal (sore lower back) when they take on the Orlando Magic on Wednesday at Amway Center.
Beal, who played at Florida for one season, was mostly concerned about sustaining a head injury after absorbing a hard landing while trying to dunk on Hawks forward Josh Smith, but he was relieved after the game that he didn’t have a concussion. When Beal woke up on Wednesday morning, his back was the problem and he could hardly move around the arena in a failed attempt to give it a go.
Shaun Livingston will replace Beal in the backcourt but Wittman had already intended on going with his eighth different starting lineup before Beal determined that he couldn’t go. Earl Barron has replaced Chris Singleton as the starting power forward after grabbing 14 rebounds and blocked four shots in the 100-95 overtime loss to the Hawks.
“We’ve got to find a way to get off to better starts. So we’ll continue to search for those areas of finding a combination that will do that.,” Wittman said. “I thought [Barron] was key coming down the stretch for us. I couldn’t really ask for anything more from him.”
Down to just 10 healthy players – including the limited Nene – the Wizards will likely have to lean heavier on Jordan Crawford, who became the first player in franchise history to have a game with at least 27 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists and one turnover.
Since turnovers became an official statistic in 1978-79, only six players have reached those benchmarks in the same game, according to Elias Sports Bureau: Crawford, Baron Davis, Jason Kidd, Latrell Sprewell, Antoine Walker and Gary Payton.
Davis had 33 points, 15 assists, 11 rebounds and one turnover against Washington on Nov. 23, 2007. Kidd had 28 points, 12 rebounds, 12 assists and zero turnovers on Feb. 9, 2005. Sprewell had 28 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists and one turnover on Feb. 28, 2003. Walker had 32 points, 14 assists, 12 rebounds and zero turnovers on Feb. 12, 2002 and Payton had 33 points, 14 assists, 11 rebounds and one turnover on April 18, 2000.
The Wizards (3-19) are now 0-4 in overtime games and have gone 3-12 in games decided by seven points or less this season. Swingman Martell Webster said the Wizards’ record should probably be “flipped.”
“We’ve got to continue to grind, continue to work together and fight for one another,” Webster said. “Because we’re resilient. It’s easy to fold over. The fact that we believe our record should be flipped is a reason why we keep fighting for each other. Plain and simple.”
Wittman has been pleased with the competitive spirit of his players but realizes that it isn’t enough in a results business. “We’re in ‘em, not we got to find a way to win ‘em,” he said.
Tipoff: 7 p.m.
TV: Comcast SportsNet
Radio: 106.7 (WJFK FM)