Wizards look to prove themselves on road trip
Last season, it wasn't until Jan. 18 that the Wizards won their second game away from home.
A win Sunday at the Oklahoma City Thunder will beat that dubious mark by more than two months for the Wizards as they start a three-game road trip (CSN, 7 p.m. ET).
Their goal is to return with no worse than a 2-1 record, with games to follow at the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday and San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday.
“We won two games in a row now so we’re confident," said Bradley Beal, who tied a career-high with 29 points in Friday's 112-108 overtime win at home vs. the Brooklyn Nets. "In order to be good in this league you have to win on the road and we have three tough matchups coming up, so we definitely have to dial in and continue to do what got us here.”
That would be ball movement and playing inside-out with Nene and Marcin Gortat in the low post. And, outside-in with the Wizards' plethora of three-point shooters such as Beal, Trevor Ariza, Martell Webster and Al Harrington. As a team, they're shooting 42.7% from deep.
Like the Thunder (4-1), the Wizards want a fast-paced game. Unlike the Thunder, the Wizards don't want to -- better yet, can't -- rely on isolation to be successful. The Thunder tend to have a predictable, though sometimes still unstoppable, offense that goes through Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook. The Wizards play best by committee.
When this trip ends in San Antonio, the Wizards (2-3) will face a team that's the exact opposite of the Thunder. Coming back from behind repeatedly to knock off the Nets, a playoff team from a year ago, may have helped them clear a mental hurdle.
"It gives us a lot of confidence going on the road," said Ariza, who buried the game-winning three-pointer vs. the Nets. "Play pressure-free and go out and try to do the same thing we've been doing."