Wizards beat down Brooklyn

Wizards beat down Brooklyn
February 8, 2013, 11:00 pm
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There has been one common theme spread across the Wizards three-game win streak: defense. In Friday’s 89-74 win over the Brooklyn Nets the Wizards may have turned in their finest defensive effort of the season.

The Wizards offense has come and gone over this first half of the season but their effort on the defensive end has been consistent. In the second quarter against Brooklyn they left one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference looking for answers.

After leading by just one after the first quarter Washington held Brooklyn to just 18 percent shooting in the second quarter. The Nets opened the quarter 0-for-12 from the field and didn’t get their first basket until the 3:36 mark. Their 11 points tied the lowest amount by a Wizards opponent in any quarter this season. Meanwhile the Wizards enjoyed a 22-2 run and never looked back.  

“It’s a mind set,” said Wizards coach Randy Wittman. “You don’t have to have a ball go in anywhere [the basket] on defense. It’s just a matter of five guys being connected. We’re connected right now no question about it.“

In holding Brooklyn to just 74 points Washington has now held opponents under 100 points in eight straight games and 16 of their last 18. But the Nets didn’t go quietly. After trailing by as many as 23 they cut that deficit down to 11 in the fourth quarter. Back on January 4th the Wizards held a late lead over the Nets before ultimately falling 115-113 in double overtime. But the Wizards weren’t concerned with the past in Friday’s win.

“You have to have a short term memory in the NBA,” said Trevor Ariza who had nine points and five points in 30 minutes against Brooklyn. “Not everyday is a good day. You have to focus on the game you’re playing and once its over look forward to the next one.”

In the span of a week the Wizards have defeated three playoff bound teams in the Clippers, Knicks and Nets. Right now the Wizards are better than their 14-35 record indicates and they feel teams around the league are beginning to take notice.

“I hope so, we’re a team to be reckon with,” said Bradley Beal who scored three points in his first action since missing five games with a sprained right wrist. “Especially with the way guys are playing right now and stepping up. We’re just having fun and playing the way we’re supposed to play all year.”

The Wizards have won nine out of ten in the comforts of Verizon Center but they’ve yet to translate that momentum into road wins. They’ll have two chances to rectify that when they travel to Milwaukee and Detroit before departing for the All-Star Break.

“It comes down to are we going to be complacent,” said Wizards forward Martell Webster. “Are we going to be satisfied? You can’t be satisfied in the league you have to stay hungry. Especially with this type of team, we haven’t been around each other for a number of years. This is a new identity, new team and the way we have to play is hungry every game.”