Marcin Gortat calls out Wizards as ‘mentally weak’

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This one needs context. Earlier this season, when Al Harrington still was out from surgery to his right knee, the 16-year veteran observed that the Wizards' greatest weakness was between the ears. Marcin Gortat headed down a similar path after Wednesday's loss, the sixth in nine games, to the Phoenix Suns, praising them for everything that the Wizards appear not to be at the moment.

"These guys are hungry. They bring it every night. They compete every night. They know what they're playing for," said Gortat, who was traded from Phoenix before the season began. "They have the character, a lot of will to win the game and they together. They have fun. They're running the system the right way."

The Wizards (36-35) trailed by as many as 25 points in the third quarter. They cut it to four by the fourth but the hole was too big. They fell 99-93. With 11 games left, they're only 1.5 games from dropping behind the Charlotte Bobcats and into the No. 7 spot in the playoff race.

"Embarrassing," said Gortat, who clearly was choosing his words carefully. "Nobody expected we're going to play like that. We just didn't perform."

Those comments led to this question from me, using Harrington's Feb. 8 comments -- said in a constructively critical fashion, mind you -- as a springboard to whether Gortat believes that observation still holds true based on how the Wizards have performed down the stretch.

"Oh, yeah. He's a veteran," Gortat said. "He's definitely a smart guy. Bright guy. I will stand behind his words. Sometimes we just show that mentally we're weak and just not competing. That's it."

And that was the last question he took. If he were holding a mic, Gortat would've dropped it as he exited the locker room in disgust.

-- J. Michael, CSN Washington