They loved Scott's game — his long-range shooting, the way he could score in isolation and his ability to defend, whether as a power forward or a point guard.
And they loathed Scott's game — specifically Bradley Beal, who still has bad memories from one particular play two years ago when Scott dunked on him so hard that the NBA's official YouTube account highlighted it as a "Nasty Jam."
But on nights such as Friday, when Scott sparked the Wizards to a 100-91 win over the Los Angeles Clippers, his new teammates had nothing but love for him. Scott continued the best stretch of his career by scoring 22 points on 9-for-10 shooting.
"I just keep my same routine, take the same shots," said the former Virginia star, a second-round pick by Atlanta in the 2012 draft. "I don't try to force any shots. I just take what the defense gives me, make the extra pass, play the right way. Good things happen when you play the right way."
Since Dec. 5, Scott has connected on 34 of 43 from the field, and his 79 percent shooting ranks as the best in the NBA over the past six games. Although the Wizards (16-13) shot poorly as a team at 44.3 percent, Scott's searing numbers led a bench unit that produced 46 points.
"He's great, man, and he continues to get better every time he steps on the floor," Beal said. "We need him to shoot the ball. Not only want him but need him to."
Scott capably filled in when the Wizards' frontcourt lost Otto Porter Jr. at the 8:56 mark of the first quarter after he picked up his second foul. Porter did not stay on the bench long and walked to the locker room along with a member of the team's medical staff. The team later announced that Porter had a right thigh bruise, and he did not return. The Wizards expect to have a better sense of his availability for Sunday's game against LeBron James and Cleveland after the team practices Saturday.
Also, Markieff Morris missed long stretches with foul trouble. As the Wizards built an 18-point lead in the second quarter, Scott played alongside a mix of starters and reserves. When Scott viciously dunked at the 6:47 mark, the slam extended Washington's lead to 39-21 and conjured flashbacks for Beal.
"I was a fan of him, but I didn't like him," Beal said of Scott's previous five years in Atlanta. "He dunked on me a couple years ago. Now I got to sit next to him and deal with him all the time."
Scott scored seven points in that second quarter, hitting all three of his shots. In the third quarter, Scott stretched to the three-point arc and hit the Wizards' only three in the frame as Washington's bench opened a 75-64 lead entering the fourth. Overall, Washington missed 24 three-point attempts, but Scott connected on two of three.
"I liked Mike a lot when he was in Atlanta. I didn't know why he stopped playing a lot, but he was the person that would always kill us when he played," John Wall said. "I didn't know he could shoot the ball that well. The way he moves the ball and plays on both ends of the floor helps our team out a lot, and it's giving Keef a boost until he finds his rhythm."
Morris, who missed Wednesday's game with a sore right hip, felt stiff by spending so much time on the bench in foul trouble. When he returned at the start of the fourth quarter, the Clippers quickly erased the 11-point deficit and drew even twice in the final seven minutes.
The turn of events continued a season-long trend of the Wizards struggling to put away lesser opponents.
In an injury-plagued season, the Clippers have employed 11 starting lineups. The team has grown so adept at updating its injury list and losing players that Coach Doc Rivers quipped that he would play cards before the game and give a start to whomever got the ace.
Although the Wizards improved to 9-7 against Western Conference foes, five of those losses have come against teams currently out of the playoff picture (Utah, Phoenix, Dallas, the Los Angeles Lakers and these Clippers on Dec. 9). After many of these bad losses, players have admitted that the Wizards have a knack for playing down to their competition.
"Being complacent, being lackadaisical and just thinking that the game is going to come easy," Beal said. "We got to respect every opponent and know that everybody's a pro. There are only 450 jobs. They deserve it just as well as we do. We got to go come out with respect to each opponent. . . . We have to make sure we're prepared each game no matter who's on the floor."
The Clippers started a rookie (Sindarius Thornwell) and played a pair of NBA G League players on two-way contracts in the rotation (Jamil Wilson and C.J. Williams), and yet, as Beal noted, they are still professional basketball players, and five players scored in double figures Friday night. Despite shooting 35.6 percent through three quarters, Los Angeles drew even when Lou Williams made a three-pointer with 5:30 remaining.
A few moments later, Morris snapped a tie by stealing an inbounds pass and throwing in a layup from the left block. Less than a minute later, he defended Wilson at the rim and forced a miss that the Wizards quickly converted into a jumper from Beal (20 points on 9-for-18 shooting).
Wall inched closer to the 30-minute mark in his second game back in the starting lineup after an extended absence because of a knee injury and finished with 15 points, six rebounds and five assists. But the night belonged to Scott, even as Beal still remembers the time Scott made him into a poster.
"The dunk he had tonight, I told him," Beal joked, "you got to get a new dunk."