Wizards win fifth straight at home

Wizards win fifth straight at home
January 26, 2013, 11:15 pm
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With wins over Miami and Oklahoma City the Wizards proved they could beat anyone on any given night. In Friday nights blow out win over a depleted Minnesota squad they won a game they were supposed to win. And after Saturday’s 86-73 win over the Chicago Bulls the Wizards have to wonder what if.

Emeka Okafor’s 15 points and 16 rebounds led a total team effort as the Wizards once again took down one of the top teams in the NBA. Chicago came in having won 8 of 9 against Washington but this isn’t the same team that opened the season 4-28.

With a full roster at his disposal (outside of Cartier Martin) Randy Wittman has finally settled into a solid rotation. The Wizards got contributions from all ten players who took the floor. Seven players scored at least seven points with nobody scoring more than 16.

But the Wizards didn’t win their 11th game of the season with their offense. After being up only six at halftime (50-44) they found a cure to their third quarter woes in the form of defense. Washington held Chicago to a season low 11 points in the third quarter. The Bulls had more turnovers (6) than field goals (3) in the quarter.

“From start to finish this was our best defensive effort for 48 minutes,” said Wizards coach Randy Wittman. “It was important to come out in that third quarter and really deliver from the start.  That got us going and energized. We won that quarter by 12 and that gave us some cushion.”

In Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer the Bulls feature one of the best frontcourts in the Eastern Conference. Although Noah finished the game one point short of a triple double it was the Wizards who won the battle of the paint. Washington outscored Chicago 48-26 in points in the paint and that’s a direct reflection of how Okafor and Nene have adjusted to playing with each other.

“Our front court beat those guys up today, nothing easy, gave them nothing easy. Everything that Joakim (Noah) did tonight was hard, it was hard for him,” said Martell Webster who scored four points in 21 minutes. “If we continue to do that when Emeka’s in there rebounding his butt off, and Nene was in there being an enforcer offensively and defensively, when you have your front court playing that way it’s hard for teams to get a rhythm.”

The win gave the Wizards their first five game-winning streak at Verizon Center since 2008. Since John Wall returned to the line up they have a record of 6-3. The Wizards are above and beyond a better basketball team when he is on the floor. But they aren’t asking themselves what if everyone was healthy all season long.

 “We can’t do anything about what the past gave us,” said Wall who had 15 points and 7 assists. “We’re looking for the future and everybody’s getting healthy. We’re just trusting each other and hope we can keep playing like this the rest of the season.”