Austin Rivers says people are laughing at the Wizards
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Austin Rivers says people are laughing at the Wizards

Austin Rivers

The Washington Wizards were hoping to sneak into the Eastern Conference title race early in the season, but the team has gotten off to a rough start, a 1-5 record that has them among the worst in the league. Matter of fact, a mere point has kept them from matching the Cleveland Cavaliers for the worst overall record in the league, a 125-124 win over the Portland Trail Blazers, one which Austin Rivers knows is one of many games that will force this team to claw their way to a victory.

“The road ain’t gonna get easier,” Rivers told Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated. “Nobody is gonna feel bad for us. People are laughing at us.”

The Wizards have been drummed for 144 points against the Golden State Warriors and most recently gave up 136 points against the L.A. Clippers on the road as part of a brutal early road trip that has seen them go 1-3 against the Western Conference.

“We have to [play with a sense of urgency] otherwise, like anything, s**t can get ugly,” said Rivers. “Our defense is horrendous. Teams are literally walking into the paint getting layups. … You’ve got to have personal pride. You’ve got to get mad when someone scores on you. We’re not the Warriors.”

Many have pointed fingers at head coach Scott Brooks, but Austin Rivers took that idea completely out of the map — saying it all rests on the players.

“Let’s just keep it a buck,” he said. “We have a lot of talent on this team. Coach is putting us in a position to succeed. It’s not on him, I’ll tell you that right now. It’s not on coach Brooks. I’m new here and I’m looking at that right now. Everybody is saying something about coach Brooks, it’s not on him.”

Brooks has stressed the team’s need to lead with their defense and channel their emotions to keep from unnecessary technical fouls, both requests have been largely ignored by this roster, which have made a successful 4-1 preseason a distant sight after their early struggles out of the gate.