Wizards Need to Breakout Against the League’s Best


By now, everybody knows that the Washington Wizards are off to one of their best starts as a franchise. At 25-12, they sit in a tie for second in the East with the Toronto Raptors, four games behind the surprising Atlanta Hawks.

When you look at the season results thus far for the Wizards, you constantly see them defeating inferior teams coupled with some good wins against good teams – including Houston, Chicago and the Clippers. But what you also see is a constant pattern of losing to some of the best teams in the NBA.

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Washington is 0-2 against Atlanta, including a 120-89 beat down last Sunday. They’ve split two games with the Chicago Bulls and the Cleveland Cavaliers, but their loss to Cleveland was by 26.

After losing the first game to Dallas by three, the Wizards dropped an egg and lost by 27 the second time around, albeit on the tail-end of a back-to-back.

Randy Wittman’s squad also lost a 12-point game to the Phoenix Suns at home and a close contest on the road against Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

And then you have the San Antonio Spurs. Washington lost in San Antonio, 101-92, just 10 days ago. The Wizards will now host those same Spurs on Tuesday night, but this Wizards team’s recent history of losing to top teams this season isn’t the only thing against them. The Wizards, as a franchise, have not beaten the San Antonio Spurs since Nov. 12, 2005.

That was when Eddie Jordan, Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison were leading the charge, and Arenas dropped 43 points.

Jan 3, 2015; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs power forward Tim Duncan (21) shoots the ball over Washington Wizards center Kevin Seraphin (13, L) during the first half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

And while the Wizards have completely changed rosters and coaches since that game, the core of the Spurs has stayed the same with Pop calling the plays, and Parker, Duncan and Ginobili abusing defenses.

And although the Spurs have had to deal with the injuries to Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker, to go along with a brutal number of overtime losses (four dating back to December), they’ve won five of their last seven games and have the benefit of having Parker back in the lineup for the last three games.

The Wizards have also dealt with injuries during the early portion of the season, but are currently as healthy as they’ll be throughout the season.

And while this might be Washington’s best chance to beat San Antonio in recent memory, they’ll need stellar play from John Wall and smart coaching from Wittman to get past the Spurs.

Wall is playing at an incredibly high level this season and he’ll have his hands full against Parker. The two play a similar style and are both tough to guard.

Wittman has done wonders with this team the last two seasons, but there are instances too often where he draws up a bone-headed play. You can’t do that against the league’s best.

The Washington Wizards have beaten very good teams this season, but they also have too many double-digit blowout losses to good teams as well. In order to be a true title contender, that needs to change. And that can start against a team they haven’t beaten in almost 10 years.

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