Three three-pointers per game with 21 left is a tall order, even for Trevor Ariza who has made 63.2% of them in this eight-game stretch for the Wizards. They've won seven of them.
Ariza knocked down 4 of 6 in Wednesday's victory vs. the Utah Jazz. At the Philadelphia 76ers last weekend, Ariza made eight consecutive three-pointers. He's 31 of 49. For the season, Ariza averages 2.5 made threes per game.
He'll have to stay close to this pace to reach the franchise record held by Gilbert Arenas, who has 205 made three-pointers twice. A lot of that will depend on John Wall setting him up. Ariza flourishes with him in the lineup. Wall draws the defenses in to respect his dribble penetration and he finds Ariza on the edges. Wall is averaging 10.5 assists, almost two above his average, in the last eight games.
"What more can you ask for in a guy who would do anything to see you succeed, see you strive to be the best you can be?" Ariza said of Wall. "I feel like that's what we all do. We all want to see each other succeed. One of us succeed, we all succeed."
Ariza, who also is the Wizards' best one-on-one defender, is succeeding big-time going into unrestricted free agency this summer.
“He’s in a good rhythm, and we're moving the ball. That's the thing," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said about Ariza's recent explosion. "We’re doing as good a job here lately of not pre-determining. Sometimes that’s hard for guys to do. I envision I am going coming off and I am going to get a shot right there. Well, if the defense takes that away then we got to move it on. That's what the team has done which creates his open looks. Now they're running him off a little bit and he's getting to the rim and to the free-throw line. He's playing at a high level."
After shooting a career-high 36.4% from long range for 2012-13, Ariza is at 43.1%. In Ariza's previous eight years, he has hovered around 20% to the lower 30% accuracy on threes.
"We've been moving the ball well as a team. Rebounding on the defensive end and getting out in transition has been big for us," said Ariza, who set a career-high with 40 points in Philadelphia. "Not only myself but Brad (Beal), Al (Harrington) and everybody else who shoots threes as well.
"Just a lot of work," is how Ariza explains his growth as a shooter. "That's all."