The Wizards came back from trailing 24 points to rally for a 125-118 win against the streaking Clippers on Tuesday night. It was a tale of two halves for Washington, who gave up 73 points in another embarrassing first half before holding Los Angeles to just 45 in the second.
The recipe was that simple: The Wizards played harder, locked in defensively, moved the ball and hit shots. The energy they lacked in the first two quarters was increased tenfold in the second. If only they found and kept that same energy for 16 games, much less 48 minutes.
Washington started the season 2-9, with reports leaking of friction at all levels from the front office to the coaching staff and the players. Most recently, the team is reportedly open to trading star players John Wall and Bradley Beal.
Amid all that drama, the Wizards have actually put together a decent stretch of basketball in the past couple weeks. It’s nothing to hang their hats on and they know it, but it’s a trend in the right direction for a team everyone can agree has underperformed to begin this season.
Since arriving home from a terrible West trip, Washington has won four of its last six games, the most recent coming against a Clippers team that entered the night with the second-best record in the Western Conference. Their other victories came against the Magic, Cavaliers and Heat. For most teams, these are wins they’re supposed to get and often snowball into bigger wins, even winning streaks.
For the Wizards? We’ll see. They’re are a TV drama, but their behind-the-scenes fireworks don’t take away from their talent. When he’s locked in, John Wall is one of the best point guards in the NBA. Bradley Beal is one of the league’s top perimeter scorers, Otto Porter has proven in past seasons to be a reliable three-point shooter, and Markieff Morris can be an enforcer and a scorer — a two-way power forward.
Those four players combined for 79 points against Los Angeles, with Jeff Green chipping in 20 off the bench. Most importantly, the Wizards showed they are actually capable of giving a damn as a group. They held the Clippers to 44 percent shooting in the second half after allowing them to shoot 58 percent in the first.
@unclejeffgreen pic.twitter.com/AI48m6RG2q— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) November 21, 2018
This doesn’t mean all is well in Washington. The Wizards still have a long way to go, and their schedule doesn’t get any easier. But sometimes teams need to go through turbulent times to come together. That’s the hope for any supporter, at least.