The post-game embrace Saturday between Washington Wizards guard John Wall and head coach Randy Wittman said it all. Winning is fun. Tonight at Verizon Center the Wizards will go for their first four-game winning streak in almost five years when they host the Charlotte Bobcats.
The Wizards are not concerned about lottery ping-pong balls, but playing basketball. Regardless of who Miami was missing on Saturday, the Wizards prevailed in an 86-84 win. LeBron James and Chris Bosh rested against the Wizards and Dwayne Wade left the game 2:40 into the first quarter with a dislocated left index finger.
It wasnt our finest offensive night, Wittman said of the win over Miami. We struggled, but we stuck in there. I thought our defense was pretty solid all night. The guys have fought all year long. Its their persona and its a good trait to have.
The Wizards only shot 41 percent from the field and lost a 14-point lead against the Heat. In the end the Wizards needed to make a play in the closing seconds. Wall was able to curl off a high screen and penetrate the lane before dumping it off to Nene for a slam dunk with 0.5 seconds left.
The last play of the game is part of the process of paying attention and executing out of a timeout, and we couldnt have done that any better, Wittman explained. It was a heck of a find by John (Wall) and Nene to get it to go down.
The Wizards now have three straight wins over teams that were motivated by playoff position. The Chicago Bulls and Heat are battling for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. The Milwaukee Bucks loss to the Wizards essentially killed their playoff hopes.
The Wizards have not win four games in-a-row since December of 2007 and with Nene back in the lineup an already hard working team is playing with added confidence. Even with Nene back from a ten-game absence for a foot injury, Kevin Seraphin still scored 17 points.
Seraphin continues to impress with both right-handed and left-handed jump hooks. Seraphin has remained the starter the last two games Nene has been back in the lineup, but Wittman is once again using both of them on the floor at the same time. Nene added 11 points off the bench and suddenly the Wizards have an imposing post presence.
He (Nene) knows his spots, said Wall. He makes it easier for you. He can post up and he can pass it. He also makes it easier in transition when Im pushing the ball. He can seal his man off too. Hes someone that can score the ball, shoot jump shots, and stretch the defense for you. Like I said, he does the little things.
Nenes help in transition is critical for the Wizards. They are still at their best running the ball and not stuck in half court situations. On Saturday against the Heat the Wizards had the first 22 fast break points and finished with a 22-3 advantage in that category.
The Wizards become just the third team this season to defeat the Heat, Bulls, Thunder and Lakers, joining the Memphis Grizzlies and the Indiana Pacers who have done it this season. The Wizards could not have beaten the Heat without Cartier Martins career-high 22 points.
We already know Cartier (Martin) can make shots, Wall added. Thats why we really wanted him back on the team. He added other things like attacking the basket, running the floor, and playing defense. He also gives us another big man that can defend and rebound the ball.
The Bobcats enter tonights game with a 20-game losing streak. On Sunday the Bobcats lost at home to Sacramento 114-88 and have been outscored by an average of 15.6 points during their skid. The Bobcats are 7-56 (.111) and need one win out of their final three games to avoid the NBA's all-time worst winning percentage set by the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers when they finished 9-73 (.110).