It has come full circle for the Washington Wizards. Scott Brooks has settled in as a coach, the roster is mostly healthy and the team’s young trio of John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter are having career years. Improvement from the second team rotation and key contributions from major role players have also been factors in a strong January for the Wizards. Washington has won 10 of their last 12 games, including three consecutive wins this past week that were arguably the best stretch of basketball the team has played this season. The AFRO recaps the week that was for the Washington Wizards.
Jan. 23: Wizards Defeat Hornets 109-99
Washington opened the week on the road against the Charlotte Hornets on Jan. 23 and Wall and streaking forward Markieff Morris delivered big games in a 109-99 win. Wall paced the team with 24 points and seven assists and Morris added 23 points and eight rebounds as five
Charlotte Hornets’ Ramon Sessions (7) is fouled as he drives between Washington Wizards’ Markieff Morris (5) and Jason Smith (14) in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
players scored in double figures for Washington. The Wizards never lacked control as they led 30-22 after the opening quarter and never buckled. Morris’ deep three-pointer with just under five minutes remaining made the score 103-90 and Washington cruised from there.
Jan. 24: Wizards Lay Celtics to Rest in 123-108 Drubbing
A Jan. 24 home rematch against the Boston Celtics was dubbed the “Funeral Game” by Wizards players after a post-game scuffle highlighted their last matchup. Wizards players wore all black to the Verizon Center and went on to have a potential season-defining
Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) drives to the basket past Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
performance in a 123-108 win. Wall (27 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, three steals) and Beal (31 points, five assists) were inspired and efficient as the duo took turns hammering away against the Celtics. Five Wizards scored in double figures and Morris added another solid effort with 19 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two blocks. The Wizards put a lot of pregame emphasis on this clash and they used that motivation for a convincing, impressive win.
Jan. 27: Washington Dominates Atlanta in 112-86 Triumph
Still beaming from their home win over Boston, Washington took to the road and decimated the Atlanta Hawks 112-86 in a game that was a lot worse than what the final score
Washington Wizards forward Otto Porter Jr. (22) and Atlanta Hawks forward Thabo Sefolosha (25) vie for a rebound during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 27, 2017, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
indicated. Otto Porter Jr. led the team with 21 points and 11 rebounds and Marcin Gortat added 15 points and 12 rebounds. Washington led 67-45 at halftime and pushed the lead to as much as 30 points while out-rebounding Atlanta 52-41. It was Washington’s most dominant performance of the season.
The Wizards are playing the best basketball of any team in the Eastern Conference while sporting the second-best home record of any Eastern team at 19-6. Fueled by a 14-game home winning streak, Washington is shooting up in the standings. Washington returns to action on Jan. 29 when they visit the New Orleans Pelicans.