Wizards Play Prior to the All-Star Break
The Wizards played great going into the All-Star break. Winners of 5 of 7 games, they put themselves within three games of the eighth and final playoff spot. This span included two wins against teams in playoff position (Brooklyn and Dallas). For a team striving for a playoff spot, that run set the team up on the right path…(wait until we get to The Ugly before you celebrate)
What better way to end the month by going off for the first back to back 50 point game since the late Kobe Bryant did it in 2007? Beal has been so good that the league even decided to drug test him. (Editor’s note: Per the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, all players are tested randomly during the season.)
Nonetheless, it is amazing to see Beal take his game to another level and hit big shots at the end of games. He has averaged 20 points per game in the 4th quarter the last three games. This is perhaps the best individual season we have seen from a Wizards player since the Gilbert Arenas (probably can put at least one of Wall’s in the conversation too) era.
Offense Has Dipped As the Season has Gone On
The Wizards started the first couple of months as a top five offense. Since that point, their offense has declined. How much so? Their offensive rating has declined each month this season. Their offensive ratings now ranks 13th. During that same period, Beal’s usage rate has increased every month since November. Going forward can the Wizards find a balance between their star player and building an efficient offense? How will this look once Wall returns next year ?
Wizards Play After the All-Star Break
So much for that nice stretch before the All-Star Break. Despite a great win against the Nets, the post All-Star game schedule has not gotten off to a great start. The Wizards lost two games to teams behind them in the standings, and this recent stretch has now pushed them to 4.5 games back with 25 games remaining. Already with the second hardest schedule the rest of the season, the Wizards could ill afford to drop games to bad teams — if they’re serious about making a run for the playoffs. They will now need to pick up some tough wins, especially as they’re entering a four-game west coast road trip.