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Washington Wizards, at 1-7, struggling to keep it together

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One by one, the Washington Wizards took their spots in front of their stalls, answering questions after Friday’s disturbing 134-111 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. There was an expectation of fireworks, possibly a public rebuke from John Wall or maybe Bradley Beal, but the Wizards were decidedly on message, and shockingly in step.

It’s maybe the most together they’ve looked all season.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

There’s Beal’s locker on one side, in the middle. There’s Dwight Howard across from him, Wall a few down from him, in the corner. Kelly Oubre Jr. is by Howard, Austin Rivers across from him, Otto Porter Jr. in the corner nearby. They’re all lined up, separated by a few inches of mahogany-stained wood panels. But after a fifth straight loss to drop them to 1-7, they couldn’t feel further apart.

Beal dismissed the idea of hitting the panic button. He affirmed his commitment to fight.4

“I don’t love where we are, but I love where we are, and I’ll never give up on this team,” was one of Beal’s lines, a twisted attempt to say he still likes his team.

On the other side, Wall stubbornly answered questions, sticking with the approach that the Wizards need to compete and play defense, eventually dipping his toe into the chemistry and effort elements. Howard went with “mindset,” saying they need to keep a positive outlook and just keep working. Rivers came the closest to saying something but stopped himself when asked if there was a deeper issue to the team’s hapless defense.

Drama around the Wizards is nothing new. They spent a large part of last season openly sniping one another in the media, with Wall and Marcin Gortat’s relationship uncomfortable to the point of being nothing more than working acquaintances; Gortat was traded to the LA Clippers this past offseason in exchange for Rivers.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

There long has been chatter around Wall and Beal’s partnership, and with a new mix in the locker room including Rivers and Howard, it seems potentially combustible. Add in a cringe-inducing 1-7 start to the season, which has featured the past five losses coming by an average of 18.6 points, and an eventual splintering feels inevitable.

“I have a lot of confidence in our guys staying together and I also have a lot of confidence our guys are going to play well,” coach Scott Brooks said. “We’re going to start playing better together.”

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