The Wizards are only two days removed from a much needed win over the Atlanta Hawks Wednesday night, effectively ending the two-game losing streak they held coming into the game.
Even with the win, it doesn’t quite feel as if the Wizards are anywhere near as dominant as they were eight games ago. They once had sole possession of the second seed in the Eastern Conference, only 3.5 games away from the Cavs for the top seed, but now they’re fighting just to keep their hold on the third seed. It could be blamed on exhaustion -before their past seven game, of which they’re 2-5, they played two consecutive overtime wins- but it seems like their starting line-up has stalled out.
Their first half of Wednesday’s game is proof enough of that, thankfully they turned it around in the final 24 minutes of action. Why; John Wall, that’s why.
In the first half, Wall was completely scoreless. By the end of the game he tallied 22 points, tying the NBA season-high for the most scored in a game after a scoreless first half, per the Elias Sports Bureau.
When Wall was back in stride, so was the Washington’s starting five. It’s as if there’s a direct correlation or something… weird. (That should be pretty obvious considering the near MVP-caliber season he’s having.)
With his resurgence Washington was able to overcome a six-point deficit and go on to win 104-100.
Beal commented on the team’s second half success in Wednesday’s game:
“I think that’s what we’ve been missing, missing our swag. Just our energy, our fun of the game. Everything is just so tense. We just need to relax and have fun playing the game.”
The Hawks on the other hand, were led by a solid overall effort by Dwight Howard, who put up a solid 16 rebound, 14 points, 2 steals, 2 assists and one block. This loss extended their current losing streak to five games.
You can read more about this game right here.
Next up for Washington is a match-up against the Brooklyn Nets Friday night, at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C.
The Wizards are set to take on a Nets squad that has been surging as of late, winning their last two games in a row. (Look I know their not really surging, but it’s surging for the Nets. This is their first winning streak of the season.)
Brooklyn hasn’t had much to play for this season, but they haven’t had any reason to lose either, so this could very well be an entertaining and competitive game regardless of either teams’ record. That, along with this being the last home game before a five-game road stretch, is why Washington needs to be at the top of their game.
They need for their starters to be at the top of their game and for their defense to do their best to shut down Brook Lopez and Sean Kilpatrick. But they especially need to watch out for Jeremy Lin, who, when healthy, has put up 13.7 points, 4.9 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game.
Those numbers are only in 22.9 minutes of court time per game, per 36 minutes his averages rise to 21.5 points, 7.7 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game. All of which are per 36 career highs.
Tip-off for this game is scheduled for 7:00 PM Eastern Standard Time.