Wake-up call: Shooting 58% in first quarters

Wake-up call: Shooting 58% in first quarters
November 28, 2013, 10:00 am
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Wizards use multiple offensive contributors in win over Bucks

(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)

In winning five of their last six games, the Wizards' recent success has been inspired by their fast starts. 

Of course, in Wednesday's 100-92 overtime win at the Milwaukee Bucks, they didn't begin well. The Wizards, playing short-handed without starting shooting guard Bradley Beal for the second game in a row, beat the Los Angeles Lakers the previous night in a track meet 116-111.

The Bucks jumped out to an 11-2 lead at 8:08, but it didn't take long to make up the difference. 

Marcin Gortat made consecutive mid-range jumpers, Nene converted two free throws and Martell Webster drained a three-pointer as the Wizards drew even at 11 by 5:42.

"They're not going to be pretty but I give these guys credit. We mentally could've given in," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "We came out with not much spark to start the game. Got down 11-2 then they fought right back, tied it at 11. You're going to have nights like that coming off a back-to-back. Flying. Mentally, they stayed in it."

In contrast to when they lost seven of their first nine games to begin the season, the Wizards (7-8) have consistently produced offensively -- though not always defensively -- in first quarters of their last six games:

  • 11 of 16 for 68.8% at the Bucks
  • 13 of 18 for 72.2% vs. the Lakers

That's an average of 58% shooting (72 of 124). In the first nine games, the Wizards shot 44.3% (87 of 196) in the opening quarter. And it's especially important considering that the game in Milwaukee represented Washington's fourth set of back-to-back games.

Next up is a game the Indiana Pacers on Friday (CSN, 8 p.m. ET). A game vs. the Atlanta Hawks at Verizon Center on Saturday will be the fifth set.

"On a back-to-back, the first quarter is the biggest quarter for us," said point guard John Wall, before the Wizards embarked on this current road trip. "Teams know we played. You got to go out there and give a lot of effort."