WASHINGTON - Portland Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan's manner was calm, his voice steady.
He sounded more resigned than riled up after his club’s sixth consecutive setback, an 83-79 loss to the Washington Wizards on Friday, when the Trail Blazers made a season-worst 33.3 percent of their shots and were held to 10 points in the third quarter.
“Evidently, they’re not responding to me because all these games look similar. We have a pretty decent first half, and in the second half, we struggle to score, to get stops,” McMillan said. “I’ve said that the last five, six games. I asked them, ‘Is it clear? What we’re asking you to do?’ They didn’t say anything. They don’t have to say anything. The games show that we’re not getting it done.”
On a night No. 1 overall draft pick John Wall struggled in his return to Washington’s starting lineup – 3-for-13 shooting, 10 points, career-low two assists, four turnovers – the Wizards turned in their best defensive performance.
In their previous game, the Wizards allowed a season-high 127 points in a loss Wednesday at Toronto, an effort coach Flip Saunders called “embarrassing.”
“Go figure: Give up 131 two days ago, and give up 79 today,” Saunders said Friday, only slightly embellishing how bad his team was against the Raptors. “All we did yesterday was work on defense. Our offense kind of showed it. If you want to be good in this league, you’re going to have to learn how to play defense, so right now, that’s our point of emphasis.”