Tuesday night against the Milwaukee Bucks, Wizards’ coach Randy Wittman ran out of patience.
“I’m done with young guys [as an excuse],” Wittman said. To start the second half, Wittman kept Trevor Booker, Nick Young and JaVale McGee on the bench. Booker and Young did get some playing time in the second half, McGee did not.
“If they don’t want to play the right way, young guys aren’t going to play. It does us no good. They’re not going to learn anything when they want to play the way they want to play. You get no development out of them if they’re going in and playing the way they want to play, the way they did in the first half.”
“All they’re developing are bad habits. I went with guys who I knew were going to go out there and bust their rear ends and try to do things the right way in the second half.”
The Wizards made a run with veterans Maurice Evans and Roger Mason Jr. playing heavy minutes, and had a chance at the win when John Wall hit a running layup with 6.8 seconds to go. But the Bucks got a tip in from Ersan Ilysova, and Mason got a traveling call on the Wizards final possession, and lost the game 119-118.
On Wednesday night, an hour before the Wizards prepared to face the Orlando Magic, Wittman was asked if last night’s disciplinary action would carry over.
“Last night is last night,” Wittman said somewhat evasively.
“Every game is a learning experience. That’s what last night was. We can’t look past, we’ve got to now look forward to what we’re going to do tonight.”
“There are going to be games when things don’t go your way, and we as a team have to try to overcome that with other things that you can bring to the table. That’s everybody, not just Nick and JaVale.”
“I found a group of guys that went out there in the second half and battled their tails off to put us in a position to win. That’s basically why I went with them down the stretch. I went briefly back to Nick, but that group had a thing going on and I just rode it.”
As for what he will do against Orlando, Wittman said he hadn’t decided yet. He also sounded unconcerned about any negative reaction from McGee.
“I talked to the team briefly, we got on a plane and came back,” Wittman said.
“I talked to him today, and he’s fine. Last night’s game is over with. I need you to do what you can do,” Wittman said he told McGee.
“It that’s how we’ve got to approach it…everybody has their ups and downs. Learning experiences are always a valuable lesson and how you digest it is really what’s most important.”
Moments after Wittman spoke, starting lineups were handed out. McGee and Young were out. Kevin Seraphin and Jordan Crawford were in.