WASHINGTON — The Washington Wizards are in danger of being done by Christmas after losing to Orlando Magic in convincing fashion on Tuesday night.
What’s worse is that John Wall is already tired of being asked the same questions about why the talented team can’t find a way to win.
Wall was the lone bright spot for Washington on Tuesday, becoming the first Wizard since Gilbert Arenas in 2007 to score 50 points. He scored 33 of his 52 points in the second half, but Washington’s abysmal defense let the Magic pull away.
Asked about defensive effort after the 124-116 loss, Wall teed off on the whole concept of effort in the professional ranks.
“Not even defensive effort, just playing hard,” he told the media, clearly exasperated. “Our job is to wake up and just play hard.”
His response took on an almost Allen-Iverson-practice repetition as he continued to rail against the inspiration of effort. He was also clearly talking directly to teammates through the media.
“Before you made it to the NBA or got a college scholarship, you played hard every day to get where you wanted to be,” he said. “To still be talking about playing hard, that’s something that you should be able to do after just waking up.”
The Wizards are now a season-worst six games under .500 and are already 7.5 games back of the first-place Cleveland Cavaliers. Only the rebuilding Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets are worse in the Eastern Conference.
The Magic, who came into the game averaging 96.8 points per game (29th in the NBA) were able to pass the ball with ease, shooting more than 50 percent from the floor. On top of that, the Orlando bench scored 73 points vs. 22 from the Wizards.
“Everybody has a job and they have to go work hard. Our job is to come here and play hard and compete. That’s the easiest thing that you should do without any contracts or money: just come out and play basketball.”
Seven Magic players scored in double-digits on the night, vs. just three for the Wizards. The Wizards have lost three of four games and are now 1-4 in the second of back-to-back games this season.
Next up, the Wizards host the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night, who won both games against D.C. last season.
As for Wall, the Wizards are out of answers and running out of time.
“If I had the answer,” he said of the team’s woes, “we wouldn’t be in this situation, to be honest.”