John Wall accuses teammates of "playing for stats" against weak opponents

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On Wednesday night, the Atlanta Hawks beat the Washington Wizards by the score of 113-99.

With the win, the Hawks moved to 9-25 on the year while the Wizards fell to 19-16.

Although Washington has dealt with some minor injuries to starters John Wall, Otto Porter Jr. and Markieff Morris in the early part of the season, their record is a clear disappointment considering that they advanced to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals last year.

In the process, a noticeable and disturbing trend has developed.

Even though the Wizards are 10-6 against teams with .500-or-better records (the best in the entire Eastern Conference), they lead the NBA with 10 losses against sub-.500 teams. Per ESPN, that's more losses against sub-.500 teams than they had all of last season.

Washington Wizards v Atlanta Hawks

Point guard John Wall came up with quite the harsh explanation.

"We talk about it. We say when we play these teams that are not above .500 or not one of the great teams, we go out there playing for stats," Wall said, according to Candace Buckner of the Washington Post. "It's simple as that. We can see it. I think we all can see it when we play."

"We say it all in the locker room. No matter what. We don't sugarcoat it from anybody," Wall added. "And we all let him know what it is. We just got to find a better job of providing and keeping it away."

Washington Wizards v Atlanta Hawks

Co-star Bradley Beal echoed his teammate's sentiments and even took some blame.

"Sometimes even myself included," Beal said. "Sometimes we do one-pass shots, no-pass shots. Two or three passes on one side of the floor versus moving on both sides of the floor. Teams are going to load up on me and John. That's something that we should know by now. We got to do a better job of creating, putting the ball on the floor and moving it. ... I think everybody as a collective unit, starters and the bench, we've got to do better at it."

He added, "We were moving the ball, passing, everybody got touches, everybody got shots. [Wednesday] it was about me, me, me, me because we’re playing an under .500 team, so we think it’s going to be easy and that’s something that’s been killing us. We fall into that trap every single time.”

Washington Wizards v Atlanta Hawks - Game Six

Although Washington hasn't gotten the job done against lesser opponents, they have come to play in big games against strong opponents, thus proving that there's an issue with their mentality, not with the talent that they put on the floor every night.

Washington Wizards
Southeast Division
Eastern Conference
Otto Porter Jr.
Marcin Gortat
John Wall
Bradley Beal

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