Saunders Rips Wizards After 103-78 Loss To 76ers
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Wizards coach Flip Saunders cursed. He raised his voice. He spared no criticism, including of point guard John Wall.
Saunders ripped his best player — “He was bad,” the coach said — and most of his team Friday night for a poor-passing, cold-shooting, weak-defending display in a 103-78 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, the first of two post-lockout exhibition games between the teams.
“When you play like we did tonight — we need 20 preseason games to figure that one out,” said Saunders, whose Wizards trailed by 40 points.
“At some point, you have to be committed to playing winning-type basketball. … I was disappointed, because our emphasis in training camp for these six days — and you know you’re not going to get anything done in six days — was not turning the basketball over, defending and rebounding. Two of those, we were especially bad, and the other, we were really bad.”
With new 76ers owner Josh Harris sitting behind a baseline, Lou Williams scored 19 points, and Evan Turner — chosen second behind No. 1 overall pick Wall in the 2010 draft — added 16. Relying on the core that led them to last season’s playoffs, the 76ers shot 51 percent in their first game since Harris’ group completed its purchase in October.
“Oh, we were sharp,” Philadelphia coach Doug Collins said. “We had a great countenance, if that’s a good word. I think our guys felt good being with each other.”
The Wizards unveiled their new red-white-and-blue uniforms, “dc” logo and draft picks Jan Vesely, Chris Singleton and Shelvin Mack — and looked very much like a young team coming off a 23-win season.
Before an announced crowd of 11,419 — the arena’s capacity tops 20,000 — they had trouble at both ends of the court, making 33 percent of their shots, which could hasten the return of free-agent Nick Young. Washington totaled 20 turnovers to only 10 steals, and was outrebounded 42-35.
Wall had eight points on 3-for-12 shooting, along with three assists and six turnovers.
“That was terrible,” Wall said. “They just came out here and just took over the court from us. They did whatever they wanted. They got any shot they wanted the whole night. We can’t let teams know it’s going to be that easy.”
Said Andray Blatche, who led Washington with 18 points: “It was no effort. It was no passion. It was like guys were out there just to be out there.”
Philadelphia hosts Washington on Tuesday; the teams play their regular-season openers Dec. 26.
“What we’re banking on and hoping on,” Collins said, “is that we can come out of the gate a little quicker.”
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