The Wizards’ recent success is catching everyone’s attention, even the national media, and frankly, we’re getting a little scared with how much people are liking the team as of late. Just take a look around the web at what people are saying about Washington:
With double-digit road wins in Charlotte, Atlanta and New Orleans last week and having backed up their all-black silliness against the Celtics on Tuesday, the Wizards have graduated from "really good home team" to "really good team." They have the league's second best record, sixth best offense and eighth best defense over the last month and a half and, with three games against below-average offenses this week, could soon be the only East team in the top 10 on both ends of the floor for the season. They've won 14 straight games at home, where they'll be for 10 of their next 14.
The all-black funeral look for last week's showdown with the Celtics was a bit much, but the Wizards haven't done much else wrong in 2017. At 11-4 this month, they sport the league's second-best record since the calendar flipped, behind only the Warriors' 12-2. In that same span, Washington is one of only three teams in the league to rank in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency, alongside Golden State and San Antonio. John Wall is one of just three players in the league averaging at least 20 points and 10 assists -- James Harden and Russell Westbrook are the others -- while Bradley Beal has rumbled for seven 30-point games after posting just four in his first four pro seasons. We had a chance to visit with Beal on Sunday's NBA Insiders show on ESPN Radio and ask him for the latest on the state of his partnership with Wall.
The Wizards are 8-2 in their last 10, and have the fourth-best winning percentage since December 1. They are for real. They jump here in part because they have wins over the Celtics and Hawks in the past week. If they keep playing like this they are not going to be a team you want to see in the playoffs.
It’s good to see the Wizards are getting proper respect for some impressive wins over the past week, and solid overall play since December. But now that they’ve got people’s attention, they need to make sure they don’t wilter in the limelight.
This week, they have to show they won’t let success get to their heads by taking care of business in three games at home against teams with losing records. If they can get through that stretch unscathed, they’ll have several opportunities to make an even stronger impression to the league with games on national TV against the Cavs, Pacers and Thunder.
It’s going to be very interesting to watch how the Wizards handle the shift from being the underdog flying under the radar to the exciting team people want to see as they surge up the standings.