By Chris Lingebach

This was a fun start to Scott Brooks’ weekly interview with The Sports Junkies.

Jason Bishop: The Wizards have been on a little bit of a hot streak. They’ve four out of their last five. They had a great win in Boston on Christmas Day. Then they beat the Rockets here. Beat the Bulls, who have been hot. Did have a little hiccup against the Hawks, but their head coach is Scotty Brooks, presented by Greenberg and Bederman, specialists in personal injury law. Coach, what’s up, buddy?

Brooks: Good morning, guys. Why’d you have to bring up the Hawks?

Bishop: Well, because I don’t understand how teams lose to bad teams. Can you explain how you lose to the Nets and the Hawks, but you beat the Rockets and the Celtics? Just explain that to me.

Brooks: Hey, we’re just gonna talk about our one-game winning streak against teams under .500. We beat the Bulls. Right?

In the past month alone, the Wizards have beaten the Pistons (20-15), Blazers (19-17), Pelicans (18-18), Celtics (30-10) and Rockets (26-9), and only lost to the Cavs (24-12) by seven points. But they’ve also lost to Jazz (16-21), Clippers (16-19) and Hawks (10-26), and to the Nets (14-23) twice.

“Our motto is ‘it’s just the NBA,'” Bishop informed Wizards coach Scott Brooks, who is presented by Greenberg and Bederman. “You never really know, or can predict, what’s going to happen in just like a regular, early season NBA game. Is that what it is? I can’t put my finger on it.”

“Yeah, I mean, we’re 10-10 against teams below .500. It’s not great,” said Brooks. “But our last 10, we’re 7-3 since John has been back. Some of those games we played without John, which is not an excuse, but it is a fact, that he is one of our better players.”

“I really can’t put my finger on it either,” he said. “I think a couple of things… I’ve heard John talk about ‘we’re playing for stats.’ I don’t really think that’s the case, because, during those games, there’s not a spike in stats — guys getting, you know, 30 points that average 20. We’ve missed a lot of shots down the stretch of games, too. We’ve missed some free throws. We’ve missed shots. I think maybe focus is probably the bigger thing, and hopefully that’s behind us, because we can’t keep affording [to lose] some of the games that we have been.”

“We talk about it. We say when we play these teams that are not above .500 or not one of the great teams, we go out there playing for stats,” Wall said after losing to Atlanta last Wednesday. “It’s simple as that. We can see it. I think we all can see it when we play.”

Wall: We’re ‘Playing For Stats’ Against Lesser Teams

Bradley Beal, too, told reporters after the game, “We’re too selfish. Offense and defense, plain and simple.”

“That’s the thing I love about John, too. He’s passionate and he cares,” Brooks told The Junkies. “I think he was frustrated with that after the game, which, rightfully so. He should be. We should’ve never lost that game. Especially after the game before that, playing in Boston on Christmas Day. It was a great game. Total team effort. Defensively, we locked in.”

“Sometimes, defensively, we don’t lock in and it’s frustrating,” he said. “I’ve tried to figure things out and move guys around a little bit. Hopefully, we’ve kind of grew up from some of those losses and we can move on from them. But I don’t think he was pointing the finger at one particular guy; I think he was pointing the finger at the entire team, and he was himself included in that.

“He has to come in and be ready to play, no matter who we play. Like I said, we’re 7-3 since John’s been back. Hopefully we can keep playing good basketball, even play better basketball in the coming months.”

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