Margin of Victory

What is really impressing me this season is not just that the Wizards have won 7 out of their last 9 games to even up their record.  It is how the Wizards are winning.

I remember watching most games last season and nearly chewing my fingers off out of nervousness.  The Wizards always seemed to play tight games, even against clearly inferior teams.  In 22 of their 41 wins last season, the Wizards won by less than 10 points.  Their average margin of victory was 9.3 points, but their median margin of victory was only 7 points.  Twelve times they won by 3 or less points.  Twice they squeaked by the Hawks by just one point.  They needed a last second dunk by Caron to beat the pitiful Knicks, also by just one point.  I would mention the 3 free throws by Gil with just 0.1 seconds left against Golden State, but at least that was against a good team.  My point is I never could relax when watching the Wizards - even when they won, even when they played an inferior team.

This season is shaping up to be different.  Of all the teams they lost to, only Memphis has a winning percentage lower than .450.  When the Wizards play a bad team now, they win.  And when the Wizards win, they dominate.  Six of their 7 wins have come by 11 or more points.  Their average margin of victory has gone up to 12.7 points.

It appeared to me that last season the Wizards never seemed to put away teams, instead always letting them hang around until the very end.  This year, though, they look like they have more of a killer instinct.  As Steve Buckhantz would say, "Dagger!"

Update [2007-12-02 22:42:23]:

Oh well, so much for that theory.  The loss to the 76ers was embarrassing, and if the Wizards were really learning how to put away teams, they would have beaten a Bosh-less Raptors team by more than four points.  It looks like the Wizards may be resorting back to their old ways.

Update [2007-12-13 20:28:19]:

Things look like they've swung back in the right direction.  According to this NBA expert, the Wizards are putting away inferior teams much better than last year.

Meanwhile, Washington refuses to die. With Gilbert Arenas out, the team isn't running nearly as much as they did last season, and they're not scoring as much even when you normalize for pace, but the defense has improved, and the team isn't wasting time dispatching the teams they should be beating. Save for a one-point loss in Philadelphia nearly two weeks ago, you can't find a single loss in Washington's 11-10 start that could be classified as "regrettable."

This represents the view of the user who wrote the FanPost, and not the entire Bullets Forever community. We're a place of many opinions, not just one.