The Wizards topped the Sacramento Kings 110-92 for their third straight win Monday night. Washington has held its opponents — the Lakers, Hawks and Kings — under 100 points in all three contests, a testament to their growing commitment to defense.
Or is it?
“You guys are on a little bit of a roll, playing some better defense,” Eric Bickel said to Wizards coach Scott Brooks Tuesday on 106.7 The Fan. “When was the last time the Wiz have held three straight opponents under 100 points?”
“I’m gonna be a contrarian,” John-Paul Flaim interjected. “I’m not buying the better defense.”
“Even Markieff Morris said they’re playing lesser opponents,” he said. “So maybe he can say that they’re playing better defense, and maybe it’s true. Scott, you can talk about that, because I’m not necessarily buying it.”
“Well, I mean we are playing better defense,” said Brooks, who is presented by Greenberg and Bederman. “They’re NBA teams. They’re teams that haven’t had good records, but we’re still playing defense. We’ve had, I’m not gonna say a history, but we’ve had some games where we played down to the opponents’ record. And that’s not good. It’s not a good thing to do. You gotta be a professional every night.”
“But the last three games, we’re holding them to 90 points,” he said. “I thought the key last night was also their passing. Brad [Beal] has seven assists. John [Wall] has nine. We have 30 as a team. Pass and defend — that’s what we’ve been talking about. Just keep it simple. Pass and defend.”
“So what do you do after the first quarter and they give up 32, and you’re like going, ‘Here we go again,'” Bickel asked. “Do you really lay into the guys? Or do they recognize it on their own?”
“Well, I think you have to put a couple of swears in the cookie jar, I guess. The swear jar, just to get ’em going,” Brooks said. “The bottom line is, you know what, there’s gonna be ebbs and flow of every NBA game, you just want to have a better start than what we had last night.”
“We didn’t guard the three-point line, and we’ve been doing a pretty good job with that all year,” he said. “I mean, they came out and just about made every three. So you have to be consistent on how you play. Hopefully we can take it on the road. We have a tough opponent in Miami, who we did not beat last year at all, so it’s not going to be an easy game for us.”