Every game is the next important game for Wizards point guard John Wall, especially with the Wizards mired in a fierce playoff race, but starting with Tuesday's game at the Sacramento Kings he doesn't hesitate to heighten the stakes.
"This defines our season, basically," Wall said before the Wizards embarked on a six-day, four-game West coast swing that ends Sunday at the Denver Nuggets with a back-to-back set in the middle at the Portland Trail Blazers and L.A. Lakers. "With where we want to be I think it's pretty big to go 4-for-4. At least 3-for-4 on this road trip. Keep yourself on the winning side and not take on any of these slumps."
The Wizards (35-31) have won 10 of 14 games since the All-Star break, most of it without Nene (left knee). Their last two wins came on back-to-backs, and in both they had to erase sluggish starts with fourth-quarter comebacks.
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"We want to try to get home-court advantage or at least stay in that six range or above," said Wall, alluding to his preference of being a No. 3 or 4 seed. "Nobody wants to be 7 or 8 (seed)."
- Kings (23-44), coming off a seven-game road trip, have lost eight of their last 11
- Blazers (43-24) have lost five of their last six games and likely won't have their best player, LaMarcus Aldridge (lower back)
- Lakers (22-44) have lost eight of their last 11 and allowed an average of 121 points
- Nuggets (30-37) are 5-5 this month with some solid wins but defensively are vulnerable, allowing 110 points on average
The No. 5 Wizards are one loss behind the No. 4 Chicago Bulls in the loss column, even with the No. 6 Brooklyn Nets and three behind the No. 3 Toronto Raptors.