The struggle continues. Or so it seems for a team that just finished the week as the worst team in the NBA. Another winless week has the 0-7 Washington Wizards searching for answers.

Head coach Flip Saunders has fallen under recent scrutiny for a team that has struggled so bad that players had to call a private meeting prior to their Jan.6 game against the New York Knicks. The meeting didn’t change the result: the Wizards lost by three to a visiting Knicks team but the effort was certainly improved. A far cry from what has taken place so far in an early season. The AFRO recaps ‘the week that was’ for the winless Wizards.

Jan. 1: Wizards 86, Boston 94

It was over before it started for the Wizards. In an early home divisional game, Washington sputtered out the gate on the way to a 34-point first half and an 18-point intermission deficit. Celtics guard Rajon Rondo pitched a triple-double while striking the Wizards out of another opportunity at their first win of the season. Second-year Wizards guard John Wall nearly matched Rondo’s effort with 19 points, seven rebounds and eight assists but an efficient second half for Wall and Washington was seemingly insignificant after a sluggish start.

Jan. 2: Wizards 92, Boston 100

For three-quarters in the second night of a home-and-home series with Boston, Washington showed toughness, resiliency and a will to win. The Wizards led the Celtics late in the fourth quarter at Boston’s TD Garden but a streaking Ray Allen (27 points) broke a close game open with some accurate long-range shooting. Allen connected on all three of his attempts from deep in the final quarter, helping Boston hold off a hungry Washington team. Andray Blatche put up his best game of the short season, pacing the team with 28 points, nine rebounds and two blocks. Perhaps in an attempt to fuse the team with some much-needed energy, head coach Flip Saunders was ejected less than two minutes into the game for viciously arguing a call. Assistant coach Randy Wittman finished the game in his absence.

Jan. 4: Wizards 85, Orlando 103

Prior to the team’s game against Orlando, the Wizards, now 0-5 at the start of the contest, were slowly gaining media attention in the team’s quest for a remedy to their struggling start. After a nationally televised blowout, rumors had already started flying about the possibly of firing Saunders.

Orlando ran off nine straight points to start the game before leading by as many as 22 in the first half before Washington trimmed the lead to 18 at the half. Another slow start and poor body language among the players forced loyal fans to phone in to local radio stations just to voice their displeasure. “We’re gonna have to do something with our start,” Saunders told reporters. “Whether its personnel-wise or whatever. But somehow we’ve got to have some juice to start games.”

Jan. 6: Wizards 96, New York 99

A Friday night clash with the New York Knicks saw a rejuvenated Wizards team jump out to a 41-24 lead but they couldn’t sustain a positive start. New York forward Carmelo Anthony nailed a late three-pointer with 15 seconds left to stump the Wizards for the seventh time this year. Washington received positive performances from Wall and rookie forward Chris Singleton, who tussled and tangled with Anthony for much of the night. Wall led the team with 22 points and nine assists but no one on the Wizards had an answer for a hot-shooting Anthony who scored 37 points.
 

Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO