- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Nick Young took 23 shots. He made just six. But his most memorable miss came when, instead of going for an easy layup, he went up for a reverse 360 and missed everything. It was a signature moment against the Sacramento Kings in a game that the Washington Wizards should have won, but threw away on sloppy and selfish play. The result was a 115-107 loss.


Coach Randy Wittman was furious after the game.

“We got a guy going in for a layup and does a reverse 360 and missed the whole thing,” Wittman fumed. “The crowd oohed and aahed. We didn’t get any points out of it. Until we’re committed to making winning basketball plays the whole game, it’s going to look like that.”

The Wizards came out in the first half and played team basketball, made good passes and shared the ball, scoring a season-high 68 points.

But a different team came out in the second half. It turned the ball over, took ill-advised shots, and literally, threw away a win. Washington finished with 20 turnovers — resulting in 29 points for the Kings — and couldn’t sink its free throws, shooting an abysmal 16-for-29. 

“There wasn’t anything in that second half that was done to win the game,” Wittman said, then spoke as if he were quoting his players. “‘Going to score, try to score every time I touch the ball.’

“Shots go up, guard from Sacramento [crashes] the boards, [puts] it in six times in the fourth quarter. Six times. Our guy’s standing at the 3-point line watching. That’s not winning basketball. They need to introduce themselves to some of the bigs that they never throw the ball to.”

The loss drops the Wizards to 7-26 as they head into the All-Star break. It was not the note anyone wanted to finish on.

“I was the only one who did it,” Young said of his shot attempt. “I did that in the past. If I make it, everybody’s on my side. If I miss it, then it’s a bad shot.”

But on a 6-for-23 shooting night that resulted in 17 points, Young took his share of bad shots.

“That’s true,” Young said, agreeing with Wittman’s comment about “introducing himself to the bigs.” “We’ve got to get Book [Trevor Booker] more involved and Jan [Vesely] and Kevin [Seraphin] when they’re out there.”

But Young’s almost nonchalant reaction was in stark contrast to that of John Wall, who was upset with the loss, and Roger Mason Jr., who was flat out exasperated.

“In the second half, we became selfish, and we didn’t play team defense, and they picked us apart,” Wall said. “Some games we play as a team. [We’re] right there and we play hard. [When] we play selfish and don’t play as a team, you get blown out.”

Mason just shook his head trying to explain the loss.

“We had a first half that we shared the ball,” Mason said. “In the second half, we just keep relapsing back to old habits, selfishness, unawareness defensively. It’s disappointing to end the first half of the season that way.”

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