Wizards vs. Warriors: Washington falls behind early as Golden State cruises to win, 120-100


Golden State’s Monta Ellis scored 25 points and then sat out the entire fourth quarter of the rout. (Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press)

Coach Randy Wittman didn’t have to see Golden State Warriors guard Monta Ellis torch his team from nearly every spot on the floor, including half court. He didn’t have to watch Warriors guard Stephen Curry track down an errant Ellis pass intended for no one in particular and bury a desperation three-pointer from 27 feet. He didn’t really need to watch 5-foot-9 reserve Nate Robinson soar above Andray Blatche to snatch a rebound, then dribble down the other end to bury an uncontested three-pointer.

From the body language of his players as they joked around in the locker room prior to tip-off, to their dancing and giggling in pregame warmups, Wittman knew that the result at the end of the night was going to resemble the 120-100 debacle that unfolded at Verizon Center on Monday night.

He fumed through every defensive breakdown, terrible pass, missed free throw and meaningless Nick Young second-half basket, and afterward, Wittman took the blame for what easily was the worst home performance since he replaced Flip Saunders.

“That’s about as disappointed as I’ve been. I’ll take full responsibility for this one,” Wittman said. “I had a sense before the game we weren’t ready to play. But I ain’t going to put up with that again. Inexcusable and that’s on me. I’ll take responsibility for that, because I’m going to clean that up. That is unprofessional. I apologize to everybody that had to watch it and had to come here tonight.”

The Washington Wizards (8-29) have lost 19 games by double digits, with 10 coming since Wittman took over. But they were especially atrocious against a Warriors team that had lost the night before in Toronto and was completing a nine-day, five-game trip to start the second half of the season. After taking a day off on Sunday following a victory over Cleveland, the Wizards continued their rest through the first 15 minutes. They had 24 points with about nine minutes left in the second quarter, but the Warriors had already doubled them when former Wizard Dominic McGuire dunked.

The Warriors led 53-28 when reserve guard Klay Thompson hit a long jumper with 7 minutes 25 seconds left in the first half. The Wizards made a few counterfeit runs but never got closer than 13 points the rest of the game. They allowed Golden State to shoot 61 percent in the first half, go 15 for 23 (65.2 percent) from three-point range. Six Warriors made at least two three-pointers, including Ellis, who had a team-high 25 points and sat the entire the fourth quarter. Golden State shot better from long distance than the Wizards did from the foul line (20 for 36).

“It was a poor performance,” Trevor Booker said after scoring 14 points. “It’s like we didn’t play any defense. They had 41 points in the first quarter. I mean, you can’t win doing that.”

Young returned after missing the previous game with a bruised right knee and led the Wizards with 25 carefree points (and zero assists) off the bench — 22 came after halftime, when he entered the game with the team already trailing by 19. His contributions in the first half consisted of a three-pointer and poor possession in which he dribbled down the clock and passed to Roger Mason Jr. with two seconds to shoot. Mason rushed and shot an air ball that led to a violation.

“The proof is in the pudding,” Mason said. “We didn’t do what was necessary to prepare for the game, and it showed on the court.”

After scoring a game-high 31 points in the win over Cleveland, Jordan Crawford had his worst shooting performance in nearly two weeks, as he missed his first five shots and finished 2 for 13 for just five points.

But Crawford hardly had the most disturbing night. Blatche, the longest-tenured player on the Wizards, endured another night of unrelenting boos. Like Juwan Howard and Kwame Brown before, Blatche has become the primary source of derision from the home fans. He was booed when he entered the game, booed when he missed his four shots, including a short-armed reverse layup in the third quarter, booed when he committed two turnovers. But when Robinson jumped over him to grab a rebound, the jeers grew even louder — especially when Robinson dribbled up the floor and his subsequent three-pointer gave the Warriors a 94-72 lead.

“He’s a professional basketball player,” Wittman said. “We got to keep fighting.”

Wittman eventually — mercifully — had to pull Blatche from the game for good. He spent the final 10:25 on the bench and had to hear heckling from fans seated behind the Wizards’ bench. Blatche finished with four points and four rebounds and dejectedly admitted that the boos affected him.

“It’s tough. You’re home and people that’s supposed to have your back don’t have your back. Instead of encouraging you to get better, they push you down and hope you do worse,” Blatche said. “At the long run, it’s not only hurting me, it’s hurting my teammates. That’s what I feel most upset about, because I can’t come out and perform, help my teammates because I’m letting the crowd get to my head, making me second guess, not letting me be the player that I am.”

John Wall finished with 20 points and a game-high 14 assists but sounded helpless when it came to Blatche and encouraging his teammates to come out with better efforts. “I think I can say as much as possible, but it’s still grown guys. They are going to do what they want,” he said.

Michael Lee is the national basketball writer for The Washington Post.
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