Wizards must defend their house

Wizards must defend their house
January 25, 2013, 1:15 pm
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John Wall's Top 5 plays of the week 1-20

The Wizards are back home with a realistic chance of winning the next three games at Verizon Center. It starts tonight against Minnesota, which is without its best player in injured forward Kevin Love. The Wizards then face a solid Chicago team Saturday night but the Bulls, too, are without their best player in former league MVP Derrick Rose. Washington closes out the quick home stand against sub-.500 Sacramento on Monday night. If the Wizards are going to make a second-half push they must win these very winnable games. 

The Wizards have been defending their home court with impressive wins in their last three games at Verizon with victories over Atlanta, Orlando and Oklahoma City. They should keep that streak going against 17-22 Minnesota, which has lost 8 of its last 10 games and sports a 6-15 road record. 

The odds of the Wiz winning have increased mightily because for the first time all season --  with only swingman Cartier Martin out with a hyper-extended knee --  the Wizards are almost fully healthy. John Wall's return from injury has brought new life and hope to the 9-31 Wizards. Wall is averaging 14 points and 7 assists in 25 minutes off the bench in 7 games playing the point. With Wall, the Wizards record is 4-3 overall, 2-0 at home.

The Wizards just had a semi-successful road trip in which they won two of five games with victories over Denver and Portland to improve their road record to just 3-18. So home is where the Wizards will have to ignite a turnaround. They have shown they are capable, but can they follow through?