Shorthanded Wizards lack physicality in blowout loss to Phoenix

When the Wizards played hard in Phoenix, Raul Neto led the team with 24 points, starting with Beal, and Russell Westbrook recorded another triple double, this one with 17 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists.

There was also an old problem against Phoenix (37-15), the last one that wounded Washington the most when it lost two games to the New York Knicks in late March. The Wizards gave up 24 points on 16 turnovers on Saturday, mistakes that coach Scott Brooks attributed to the team’s lack of physicality.

The story continues under the advertisement

“You overflowed the color. They’re a physical team, they don’t allow layups, ”Brooks said. “They make you earn on the free throw line, it’s old school basketball. It’s a good team. This is a team that will cause a lot of problems for many teams – they are very handy. You have to be strong with the ball. Even if we had some good insights with Rui [Hachimura]and even Deni [Avdija] and Alex [Len], three of our starters, they swipe down on the ball and they could get you, they could get your arm or your hand, but they are physical enough not to be called on these all the time. These are sales. “

Saturday wasn’t unique to Washington, which struggled with freebies all season. Its 14.7 revenue per game is the ninth worst mark in the league, and it averaged even more – 15.7 per game – in the 10 games that led to the loss of Suns. The opponents achieve an average of 18.4 points less sales each evening, which is the fourth highest value in the league.

Westbrook leads the NBA with 226 sales this season and Beal is 15th in the league with 145 sales, numbers Brooks can live with because the two guards handle the ball. Nikola Jokic, Luka Doncic, Devin Booker (who had a game high of 27 points on Saturday) and LeBron James are also in the top 15 in terms of total sales this year.

The story continues under the advertisement

But Saturday in Phoenix was a little different. Westbrook still led the team with five freebies, but errors were more evenly distributed overall. Every player who watched significant minutes had at least one turnover, with the exception of the team’s newest additions, Daniel Gafford and Chandler Hutchison. Hachimura had three turnovers and Neto and Len had two each.

Neto believed that the wizards’ lack of physicality – that is, driving by force, playing through contact, and making themselves felt on the defense – not only affected sales, but also led to a weak defense in the second half, which Phoenix the third Dominated the quarter.

“We have to be ready not to get calls,” said Neto. “We have to be strong with the ball, play hard – I think sometimes we ask too much for fouls, sometimes more than anyone. But I think when you are where we are, you have to do it [earn] the respect from the referees. I think we just have to play hard, play through contact, play through someone who slaps you on the arm, someone who smears you, sometimes the referee doesn’t see it. … We were kind of soft and they started. “

The story continues under the advertisement

Failure to improve defense and sales resulted in the Suns making 23 more field attempts than Washington, an inequality that resulted in the team’s second worst point differential of the year, only after a 120-91 loss to Detroit April 1 . Phoenix dined at 27 fast-break points and sliced ​​up the wizards’ defenses for 17 three-pointers, six of which came in the third quarter.

“It was big especially in the second half,” Westbrook said when asked how physicality affects the game. “We weren’t physically on the defensive, and then offensively they got hold of the basketball and got out in the transition and hit three.”

Washington’s street doesn’t get any easier from here. After the Suns finished second at the Western Conference, the team is now turning its attention to first-placed Utah Jazz – a game Brooks will hopefully play from both Bertans and Beal. The trainer said ahead of Saturday’s fight that Beal’s back lift had nothing to do with the hip injury the security guard has been dealing with recently.