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Mike Scott continues to surprise everyone, even himself, in comeback season

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Washington Wizards Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

WASHINGTON - Last season, it looked like Mike Scott’s career was in serious jeopardy. He put together the worst season of his career, and couldn’t find a team to join after the Suns waived him as part of a trade with the Hawks at the trade deadline. But now, the six-year veteran out of Chesapeake, Virginia has matured into the Wizards’ biggest surprise of the season, and a fan favorite in the nation’s capital.

He is averaging career-highs in points per game (9.8), field goal percentage (58.5 percent), 3-point shooting percentage (42.2 percent), and has scored in double-figures in 14 games this season. In his last six games, he’s averaging 17.5 points on 53-of-72 shooting from the field. He’s even surprised himself with how well he’s been playing.

"I honestly didn't think I'd be shooting or playing like this either," he said after Tuesday’s game against the Pelicans. “I'm healthier now than I was when I first got here to D.C. I haven’t felt like that in a long time, like a year and a half.”

Through the Wizards up-and-down season, Scott has been a picture of consistency. Last Friday, he scored 22 points against the Los Angeles Clippers on 9-of-10 shooting from the field including 2-of-3 from long distance. On Sunday against the Cleveland Cavaliers, he put together 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the field.

Scott continued his impressive play with a season-best 24 points on 11-for-15 shooting in a win against the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday night. For the eighth consecutive game, Scott shot better than 57 percent from the field.

“He’s been shooting the ball so well,” Coach Scott Brooks said after Tuesday’s game. “He’s confident, the team’s confident, he’s making good shots. I mean, if you take good shots, you have the best chance to make them. You take bad shots, you have a slim chance to make them. Great players can make them more consistently, more often than the average players. But if you take good shots, like he does, and our guards - John Wall and Tomas - they find him. And the thing I like about Mike is when he doesn’t have a shot, he moves it quickly. Moves it, gets off it, goes to the next man.”

It was clear on Tuesday that the fans at Capital One Arena appreciated the boost he’s provided off the bench in Washington. Fans gave Scott roaring applause each time he was subbed out on Tuesday, which Scott took note of after the game.

"It felt great. I don't really show a lot of emotion on the court, but that did feel great," he said. "I'm very grateful for that. It may seem like nothing to other players, but stuff like that, it feels great to a player. It's very encouraging, especially from the past years that I've had. It just feels great."

He also earned respect from the Pelicans’ twin towers. After Jrue Holiday stripped Scott on a possession in the fourth quarter, DeMarcus Cousins said Scott’s iso game was weak. Scott responded on the next possession by hitting a contested shot over Anthony Davis to extend the Wizards’ lead.

“You can tell he’s playing with a lot of confidence right now”, Cousins said after the game. “He’s been a spark for them lately, and came out and did that exact thing tonight. He had his way with us tonight.”

“He made some good shots”, Davis said. “Tough shots, a challenged two, he had a couple open looks from three, but he’s been playing well. He’s shooting the ball extremely well from all over the floor, and he made shots tonight.”

In a season where things haven’t always gone according to plan for the Wizards, Scott’s effective play has been a welcome surprise for the team and an unwelcome one for Washington’s opponents.