Since the calender turned to 2013, and John Wall stepped foot back on the court in D.C., the Wizards are showing the NBA why there is a different energy permeating through this franchise. Though the season's first 32 games proved about as frustratingly ugly as any Wizards fan could tolerate, the recent resurgence of inspired defense and positive team-basketball has Wizards fans sensing that the momentum they feel might not go away so quickly this time. The Wizards have become expert spoilers, surprising some of the NBA's best when they arrive in the nation's capital.
Wizardry in D.C.
The Washington Wizards continued to defend their home-court and refuse to buy-in to the common trend of guaranteed-non-playoff teams attempting not to add to their win total late in the season. Even without rookie guard Bradley Beal, the Wizards roster is talented and athletic, with two defensive bigs in Okafur and Nene, an electric point guard in John Wall, and defensive-minded wings in Ariza and Webster. Unfortunately, with Wall missing the season’s first 33 games, the Wizards had no offensive rhythm and Bradley Beal was forced to move to the point guard and get on-the-job training. After starting 4-28, the Wizards have since gone 17-14, piling up wins over top competition. Remarkably, the Wizards have defeated the following list of teams: Denver (twice), Oklahoma City, Atlanta, Los Angeles Clippers, New York, and Houston. At home, the Wizards have won 13 of their last 17. They are currently the epitome of a spoiler team. Teams come in looking at their record and expect to win easily. With the presence of Wall and actual defenders, Washington’s future is brighter than most imagine.
The Wizards beat playoff-bound Milwaukee with a dominant 4th quarter run that hinged on defensive energy, blowing open an 85-83 contest with an 8-1 run. Mike Dunleavy of the Bucks shot 0 of 6, collected four rebounds, and turned it over once in 26, mostly silent minutes, yet finished with a +/- of plus 14. This number jumped out of the box score at me, prompting me to look further into analyzing the accuracy of the plus/minus category.
To read more about plus-minus and it's strengths and weaknesses as a category, click here:
Thanks for reading and Go Wiz,