Martell It Like It Is: Male pattern baldness
Converting layups had been a problem for the Wizards all last year when they won just 29 games. This isn't referring to the shot but the easy wins against teams with losing records.
They're 8-4 against losing teams entering Friday night's game vs. the Milwaukee Bucks (CSN, 7 p.m. ET). They've lost 15 of 18. So what's changed?
"It's a point where enough is enough. You get that bad taste in your mouth, especially when you're hot against teams above. 500. Next thing you know you're playing against a team below .500 and you're playing down to your competition," Martell Webster said. "Not taking away (anything) from any of those teams, this is the NBA, everybody's good, but when a team is out of rhythm you can't allow them to get in rhythm. The most important thing is to come out the gates the first five minutes of the first quarter and then in that second half to set the tempo. We've been doing that. Ever since we picked up speed and realized we got to take care of those games."
Marcin Gortat doesn't want the Wizards, who have won seven of their last nine games, to get too full of themselves for beating teams they're supposed to beat anyway.
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"You can't get excited, especially in the easy games with teams like Milwaukee coming in," he said. "They're not winning now. They're still dangerous. … We got to win those games. We got to win games at home and make sure later on, when we have to play teams like Miami and Indiana, we're going to have room in case you lose."
Coach Randy Wittman attributes the better focus to the roster adjustments in the off-season, such as adding experience in Al Harrington, Eric Maynor and Gortat. Plus, he endorses Webster's analysis. Dropping all four games to the Detroit Pistons last season and losing the season series to the Charlotte Bobcats were unacceptable.
"You get more and more guys that have been through these type of seasons where you have spells like that, adding March, being a veteran guy helps," Wittman said. "Our guys remember last year, how those things happened, how small it is getting into he playoffs and not getting into the playoffs."