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Top Stories of the Week: The Wizards remain inconsistent against “lower tier” teams

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Washington Wizards Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Close to one month of the NBA season has passed. The Wizards are currently 6-5 in the standings, good for fifth in the East. But to be honest, the Wizards’ record should be a lot better given where many though they would be. Let’s go through the last week and recap the week that was.

Wizards go 2-1 in the last week

The Wizards were without John Wall last Sunday when they played against the Raptors because Wall suffered a shoulder stinger against the Cavaliers. Usually, a game without Wall spells almost imminent doom, but they beat the Raptors, 107-96 after Bradley Beal dropped 38 points and Otto Porter scored 19 more. Washington also took advantage of the Raptors after Kyle Lowry was ejected in the second quarter.

That leads us to last Tuesday, when Washington came back home to face off against the Dallas Mavericks, who most expect to be a lottery team next spring. In fact, Dallas was just 1-10 coming into that game. The Wizards are infamous for playing up or down to their competition, and they did it again. Therefore, the Wizards ended up with a 113-99 loss.

Then on Thursday, the Wizards hosted the Lakers at home, cruising to a 111-95 win after an overtime loss just a couple weeks earlier. The game could have turned a little interesting in the fourth quarter, but a 69 point first half was more than enough for the Wizards to snap a three game losing streak at home.

We’ll see the Wizards play the Hawks tonight. Hopefully, Washington will extend their winning streak at home.

Bradley Beal is coming around

I wasn’t thrilled about Beal’s scuffle with Draymond Green during the Wizards’ long west coast road trip. But since, then, Beal has been playing some of the best basketball of his career. He is averaging 25.4 point a game this season and also converting very well at shots close to the basket. As Alan Jenkins noted, Beal’s scoring has really improved because he’s diversifying his way of scoring, especially as he gets close to the basket.

I’ll also add another note to Beal’s development as well off the court. The Wizards have developed a vocal swagger this season, and Beal has become more vocal in that respect. However, he also indicated that that confidence may have been more like arrogance to Michael Lee of Yahoo! Sports:

“I think we’re kind of, I guess, stubborn and figure we’re a little bit better than what we are,” Beal told The Vertical. “We know what kind of team that we can be and that we want to be, but we’ve still got to go out and prove it. We still have to go out there and showcase what we’re capable of doing. And sometimes, I think we think it’s going to be a cakewalk and we’ll just walk out there and win games. We take for granted that everybody is a professional. Everybody is in the league for a reason. We kind of get too comfortable in our own skin and it comes back to bite us in the end.

It’s not bad to see that the Wizards are confident. However, it’s also not a good thing to see them be arrogant and lose games that they otherwise should have won.

The backup point guard situation still hasn’t panned out

Tim Frazier has averaged a good number of assists per 100 possessions, but he hasn’t made the rest of the bench unit better. As Ben Mehic writes, it’s still early before the Wizards decide to move onto another backup point guard, but the bench production is still not where we would like it to be.

And more links

  • Elena Delle Donne officially got married last weekend. Cyd Zeigler of OutSports, SB Nation’s LBGTQ sports blog wrote about the ceremony which took place just outside New York City.
  • Last week, Camille LeNoir, a former 2009 Mystics draft pick was fired from her job as an assistant coach at New Mexico State University before she was about to start. Long story short, LeNoir was gay during her college playing days and soon after, but apparently isn’t gay anymore and released a video about that. She’s suing the University. Zeigler also wrote about that. While I don’t think firing a coach because of sexual orientation is appropriate, I also agree with Zeigler on this point — how are players at NMSU — if they’re gay — work with a coach who thinks they are sinning?
  • Emma Meesseman led Belgium to a World Cup berth next year, but her goal is also to get her country in the Olympics. Though she could lead them to the World Cup title next year to accomplish the goal, it’s more likely that Belgium will have to make the Olympics through EuroBasket Women 2019. Qualifiers start today, and Sporza, a Dutch language Belgian sports site has more news and tidbits from the rest of the team. Als u niet Nederlandstalig bent, is hier een Franse link op BasketFeminin.com (If you aren’t Dutch speaking, here’s a link to BasketFeminin.com, which is a Belgian French site.)
  • The Wizards’ talking game, as you might expect, is getting criticism. Beal was reflective of that, but Alessandro DeBrevi of Sir Charles In Charge added more on why it’s time for them to start backing it up with their play.
  • Candace Buckner of The Washington Post detailed on Markieff Morris’ play against the Lakers and his comeback from injury.

These are just some of the many stories that came out in the last week. If you have another link you’d like to share, feel free to do so in the comments or as a FanPost. Have a great weekend!