Although each NBA team is playing 16 fewer games this year because of the lockout, it’s looking like it is going to be a long season for the Washington Wizards.
Coming off yet another lopsided defeat, the Wizards again hope to get their first victory Tuesday night when they host the Toronto Raptors.
Washington (0-8) is the NBA’s lone winless team and it has rarely come close to victory, with half of its games decided by 18 or more points. The Wizards were again on the wrong end of a one-sided game Sunday, falling to Minnesota 93-72 to extend their franchise-worst start to a season.
“It’s a pride game now, to start this bad,” John Wall said. “It’s nothing but pride to see if you’ve got the heart to play.”
Coach Flip Saunders, however, doesn’t feel like his players are showing much heart and preparing themselves properly. He said his coaches email extensive scouting reports to players the day before every game, but they’re not studying them.
Against the Timberwolves, the Wizards shot 34.5 percent - their lowest mark since Nov. 21, 2009, at San Antonio - and finished with their fewest points since Feb. 21, 2009, also against the Spurs.
“There’s really not much to say,” Saunders said. “Disappointment. Embarrassment. I don’t know if words can explain. My job over the next two days is to try to find five guys who can play the right way and can play with some heart. … It was bad to watch. It was bad to coach. It was bad to play.”
The Wizards are averaging 84.9 points and 39.7 percent shooting, and again could have some trouble on the offensive end against the Raptors.
Toronto (4-5) is second in the league in defensive field-goal percentage (39.4) and just limited the Timberwolves to 33.8 percent shooting in a 97-87 win on Monday.
Wall has been in the middle of Washington’s shooting woes.
The No. 1 pick of the 2010 draft is second on the team in scoring at 14.4 points but shooting just 35.1 percent from the floor. As a rookie last season, he averaged 16.0 points on 35.9 percent shooting and 8.0 assists in three games against the Raptors.
Washington split the four-game series with Toronto, winning both contests at home.
Playing in front of the home crowd hasn’t provided the Wizards with much of an advantage this season. They were booed during a 12-point fourth quarter on Sunday.
“It’s frustrating. It’s sickening. Embarrassing,” Andray Blatche said. “They booed us; we deserved it. I don’t know what to say.”
The Raptors arrive in the nation’s capital after opening their only back-to-back-to-back stretch of the season Monday. Amir Johnson had a season-high 19 points and 11 rebounds for his second straight double-double, but it was Andrea Bargnani who carried Toronto.
Bargnani matched his season high with 31 points against Minnesota, and scored nine during a 12-6 run in third quarter that helped the Raptors open up a 10-point lead. The No. 1 pick of the 2006 draft averaged 25.5 points on 57.1 percent shooting in Toronto’s wins over the Wizards last season and 18.5 points on 35.3 percent shooting in the losses.