John Wall and Bradley Beal boldly claimed that the Washington Wizards are the best team in the Eastern Conference but they have looked anything but in the early part of the season.
Wednesday night's 129-124 overtime loss to the Charlotte Hornets was the team's third defeat in the last four games and they currently sit seventh in the standings with a 10-8 record.
Wall couldn't hide his frustration after the game and gave an honest assessment of their current form.
“It’s terrible,” he said, per the Washington Post.
The point guard's anger stemmed from the Wizards' inability to close the game out after holding a 111-102 lead with under four minutes to go in the contest as they collapsed on the defensive end.
“The fault was defensively giving up offensive rebounds and those 50-50 balls with the last two minutes, you have to beat those guys to get those,” he said. “That’s where they won the game.”
Washington managed to secure just one win on their recent three-game road trip and have, worryingly, showed signs of failing to get the job done down the stretch.
“A little disappointed,” Beal said in summary of their last three game. “We wanted to be 2-1. We really should have been 3-0. That’s really how I believe, but we feel like every game we were up.
"Every game we were winning, especially down the stretch in that case. We’ve just got to be better executing. Execute better on offense and get stops on defense.”
For a team looking to make it to the conference finals this year, it will be a worrying trait for head coach Scott Brooks as they are continuously showing the same tendencies.
There's no doubt that the Wizards are among the best teams in the east and will be a threat to the likes of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics throughout the year and in the postseason but they must iron out their obvious deficiencies if they are to overcome them.
Of course, there have been some mitigating factors involved, most notably the injuries Wall has had to deal with and continues to do so.
The All-Star has been in and out of the lineup in recent weeks with both knee and shoulder issues bothering him.
He indicated he had been able to play through the discomfort after getting his knee drained on several occasions but this problem should be addressed by the franchise while it's still early in the campaign to avoid losing him in the latter stages.
The team will be glad to return home to the nation's capital as they take on the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night.