The Washington Wizards talk about fourth quarter full-court pressure defense against Chicago, which helped make the 10 point loss a little more interesting, to say the least…
If anything, Randy Wittman has proven that he’s no Flip Saunders, past his own claims of the two being “polar opposites.” No, it’s not about wins and losses (beating the Bobcats twice? please), at least for the rest of this season. Yes, outcome is important and positive outcomes are nice, but ask a fan about winning or losing, and the Wizards can’t win. From moral victories to lottery losses to scoreboard reward, not many can be satisfied in this current state of four victories and 17 losses.
Wittman is willing to try more new things, starting Jan Vesely at the four over Andray Blatche for example. Or, down 78-63 to the Chicago Bulls on Monday night with nearly a quarter left to play, throwing a full court press after a Chicago timeout allowing Tom Thibodeau to insert M.V.P. point guard Derrick Rose back into the game. It’s not like Saunders didn’t reach deep into his bag of gimmicks, responsiveness from his players was clearly the issue.
“I was a little hesitant to really do what we did there in the fourth quarter,” said coach Randy Wittman at the end of the night, “because… [chuckles]… we hadn’t worked on it, but I said, ‘Let’s go, guys, we got one chance here to make this a ball game.’”
Washington responded immediately — with a unit of John Wall, Jordan Crawford, Nick Young, Trevor Booker, and JaVale McGee – racing to a 15-8 run in fewer than four minutes. Thanks to the pressure, the Wizards trimmed their deficit to eight points. A Nick Young three-pointer capped the comeback, with Wittman afterward stomping his feet all over the hardwood floor to remind Young to not bask in his offense, but rather to find the shooters and pressure as necessary. Chicago answered by finally breaking Washington’s full-court defense with ease, ending the Wizards run with a Carlos Boozer dunk, holding their lead at 88-78.