Following the 105-97 win over Orlando, the self-described "amped" Washington Wizards made their way to Chicago for Saturday night's tilt and first meeting of the season with the Bulls. With a Windy City takedown, the Wizards would follow up a victory with another one for the first time this season.
Obviously, that's no easy task for a team that has lost 11 of 12 road games and six of seven at the United Center. Sure, the lone win came last season as the Bulls played without Derrick Rose and Luol Deng, but Chicago sports a winning record (15-12). Washington, not so much.
Regardless, the Bulls should also be leery. Recently after teams down the Wizards, they immediately go down a losing path.
Cleveland beat Washington on Wednesday, lost at home against Atlanta on Friday, becoming the fourth straight team to beat the Wizards and then lose their next game when the next game wasn't also against the Wizards (otherwise known as the Pistons exception, though Detroit did lose after defeating Washington for the second time in two days).
Fine, that's bump in the road level losing so let's take the scuffling up a notch. On Dec. 19 in Orlando, the Magic beat Washington 90-83 for their fourth straight win. That was also the Magic's last win. Since then, four consecutive losses.
"For a minute there, we felt like we should win every game, no matter who we were playing," Magic forward Arron Afflalo said Friday night after Orlando lost to the owners of the NBA's worst record. Washington had lost five straight at home since upsetting Miami 105-101 on Dec. 4. The win over the Heat also marked the last time the league's lowest scoring team totaled at least 100 points.
The Magic's current slide coincides with the absence of Glen "Big Baby" Davis. Orlando's second-leading scorer sprained his left shoulder - in the final minute of the first meeting against Washington and hasn't played since.
Orlando's current skidding situation - the second longest in the Eastern Conference - is rather mild compared to what division foe Charlotte has endured since defeating the Wizards.
Locally the Nov. 24 contest conjures up memories of Nene's first home game this season, the one where everyone looked past his 20-minute limitation as winless Washington sought to be winless no more. Instead, the Wizards fell to Charlotte 108-106 in double-overtime and to 0-11 on the season. Meanwhile the surprising Bobcats improved to 7-5.
Five weeks later, Charlotte still has seven wins - and a lot more losses, 17 more in fact. The very next game after beating the Wizards, the Bobcats lost at Oklahoma City, 45 points. Over their last five games, the Bobcats have lost by an average of 16.6 points. Beat the Wizards at your own peril.
[**We should note that both Miami and the Los Angeles Lakers rattled off several consecutive wins after beating the Wizards. Maybe defeating Washington leads to revealing one's true status, maybe not. Anyway...]
Bradley Beal and company currently feel like winners, thought they are still searching for the consecutive wins magic formula.
"We're amped, we're ready to go, but we can't stop right now, can't get complacent," the rookie said said after scoring 11 points in Friday's win. "Yeah we won a game, but we have a tough one [Saturday]."
The Bulls, losers of two straight, have been off since Tuesday after a snowstorm wiped out a game this week versus Indiana. Told about the Bulls downtime during his postgame press conference, Wizards coach Randy Wittman said, "Good, they're going to be rusty. That's good for us. We got to win. We're feeling good. Let's play again. I don't worry about Chicago. I'm going though."
Chicago, you have been warned: the Wizards are coming.