Wizards having a hard time getting over the hump


We can’t go down again, can we? (Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press)

John Wall and Nene have yet to play, but the Wizards have another reason to be concerned about being the last NBA team without a victory: This is the supposedly light part of the schedule.

They have played the fewest games, and Milwaukee is the only team that the Wizards faced with a winning record. Boston and Charlotte have moved above .500 since beating the Wizards, but Washington still has the NBA’s fourth-easiest strength of schedule with an opponent winning percentage of .436.

“It’s never fun to lose, but we’ve competed pretty much every game,” Coach Randy Wittman said. “Got to keep working is the main thing. Keep believing. Keep doing the things that we need to do to improve to get over the hump.”

The Utah Jazz (4-6) will be the fifth team that the Wizards have faced this season that entered the game with a losing record. The Jazz presents an opportunity, since they are just 1-6 on the road and have lost their past two games on this four-game road trip, including a 99-93 loss on Friday in Philadelphia. 

The Wizards have will play five of their next seven games at home after playing five of the first seven on the road. Jordan Crawford said the location doesn’t make much difference: “Still got to go out there and play. They can still come out there and beat you. We just got to be prepared for the team and not worried about where we’re at.”

When the Wizards opened last season with a franchise-worst eight straight losses, they were only in position to win one game in the final minute and four of the defeats were by at least 18 points. This season, they have only lost one game by at least 16 points and they have been in position to possible win at least four in the final minute.

“Not really. It feels about the same,” Trevor Booker said, when asked if the mood felt different from last season. “The only thing that feels different is that I feel we definitely could have won at least three of the games we played.”

Wittman refused to compare the Wizards’ struggles this season with the ones they had last season.

“I’m worried about this team and us going out and doing the things that we’re capable of doing to win games,” Wittman said. “I still got great belief in these guys, even without John and Nene, that we can do that.”

The Wizards are certainly more competitive than a year ago, but all that matters to them is that they are 0-7 for the second year in a row and the second time in franchise history. A loss is a loss, lopsided or not.

“It’s hard to ignore,” Cartier Martin said. “We feel like we definitely need a win right now. We’re a talented team. We’re definitely better than what our record shows right now. We just have to believe in ourselves. There are a lot of new faces and we’re still trying to mesh together and find different ways to win.”

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

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Michael Lee · November 17, 2012

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