The Washington Wizards are back at .500 this season and are currently looking at their fifth chance to get over that mark. The Wizards started their road trip by beating the Phoenix Suns on Friday night, making them 1-0 on their four-game road trip. Washington’s second game comes against the Utah Jazz in what will be the first of two matchups between Washington and Utah. This Wizards are currently 21-21 and the Jazz are currently 14-29.
With about half of the season over, it looks like the Wizards are going to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. What is concerning, however, is that Washington has failed four times this season to get over .500 with their most recent try being stopped by the Boston Celtics. The Jazz are currently in dead last in the Western Conference, and the Wizards cannot afford a loss. Washington’s next stretch of games are against some of the best in the league with the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Portland Trail Blazers and San Antonio Spurs. That is why winning Saturday night is extremely important for Washington.
This season, Washington’s weakness has been letting lesser teams get the better of them. To beat Utah, the Wizards will need to forget their old ways and come out strong. They have let teams such as the Celtics and the Detroit Pistons ruin their chances to get over.500, and Washington cannot let the Jazz add their name to that list. The Wizards are clearly better than the Jazz, but for some reason the Wizards do not play as well against lesser teams. Maybe it is a mental block, but whatever it is it needs to be left in the locker room.
During their last chance to get over .500, John Wall and the Wizards missed several opportunities to take the lead late in the fourth quarter through not capitalizing on defensive steals and plays in transition. As they were playing sloppy and uninspired, the Wizards could never get the lead late. Wall had some very important late-game turnovers and missed some very important layups in transition that could of given the Wizards a solid lead. Fundamental basketball will be extremely important in tonight’s game against Utah.
Washington has not been over .500 since 2009. If the Wizards ever want to get over .500 they need to put these mental errors behind them. If the Wizards fail to do so then history will repeat itself.