The Washington Wizards grabbed their second commanding victory in a row last night, defeating the Orlando Magic by a score of 96-80. This 16-point victory comes two nights after the 114-77 victory over the Brooklyn Nets. That victory against the Nets followed a five-game losing streak for Washington. Perhaps there was no reason to panic after all.
However, even with the two demanding victories that the Wizards have grabbed over the past few nights, they are still yet to prove that they can consistently defeat quality teams. They could beat up on teams like the Magic and the Nets, which is great for now, but eventually they will have to learn how to defeat the tougher opponents.
John Wall ran the show last night, recording more assists (10) and rebounds (10) than points (9), falling just one tally shy of a triple-double. He has really ran the show since the beginning of the season for Washington, proving that when passing becomes the priority over scoring, wins will come more often.
No player on the Wizards roster scored more than 15 points last night, and that also displays another important aspect of basketball that has been getting lost over the years. Playing as a team is more important than anything. Just look at the San Antonio Spurs.
Sure they have three stars on their team that will all find themselves in the Hall of Fame one day, but they display the perfect example of team basketball: fluent passing, taking your time, never settling, and always looking for the best shot possible. In a sense, the Wizards are a young Spurs team.
While people don’t see that right now, they will see it as this team gains more experience. Last night, the veterans came through for Washington. Rasual Butler lead the team with 15 points, while big men Nene and Marcin Gortat recorded 14 points each.
The Wizards will go on the road, where they have struggled, and face a very tough Toronto Raptors team tomorrow night. Although they hold a record of 20-8 at home, they have also maintained a mediocre road record of 13-12. While it is still above .500, you are going to have to do better than that when playoff time arrives.
Toronto unseated Washington for the second seed in the Eastern Conference just last week, and the Wizards are looking to regain that spot. A win tomorrow night in Canada would obviously go a huge way in making that happen.