Wizards tend to play smarter vs. playoff teams

Wizards tend to play smarter vs. playoff teams
March 27, 2013, 10:00 am
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A common theme with the Wizards is that they play up, or down to their competition.

Going into Wednesday’s game at the Oklahoma City Thunder, that’s a good thing. It’s usually afterwards when they meet teams with losing records that they run into trouble.

And it appears to be a bad habit they've kept despite John Wall’s return from a knee injury Jan. 12 and his spectacular play in the past month.

They upset the Thunder on Jan. 7, five days before Wall’s debut, 101-99 at Verizon Center even though the Wizards only shot 43.7%. They only had 14 turnovers. 

Usually, though not always, the Wizards are successful when they protect the ball and shoot higher percentages:

Dec. 4: Wizards 105, Miami Heat 101. They only had 10 turnovers, doled out 31 assists and shot 48% from the field.

Jan. 12: Wizards 93, Atlanta Hawks 83. Overcame 17 turnovers and shot 45.6% in Wall’s first game, after beating the Thunder five days earlier.

Lost four nights later to the Sacramento Kings 95-94. They  now have the second-worst record in the Western Conference

Jan. 18: Wizards 112, Denver Nuggets 108. Despite 20 turnovers on the road, shot 51.2% and had 56 points from the reserves.

Jan 26: Wizards 86, Chicago Bulls 73. The shooting was sub-par at 43%, but only had nine turnovers.

Lost two nights later to the Kings again, 96-94

Feb. 4: Wizards 98, Los Angeles Clippers 90.  Kept the turnovers to 12 and shot 44%, but Chris Paul and Blake Griffin were injured.

Feb. 6 Wizards 106, New York Knicks 96. Ten turnovers plus 53.2% shooting equals victory.

Feb 8: Wizards 89, Brooklyn Nets 74. Shot 45% and tallied just 12 giveaways and held Brooklyn to 32.9% shooting.

Feb. 11: Wizards 102, Milwaukee Bucks 90. The 19 turnovers weren't good, but 56.8% shooting -- on the road to boot -- made it irrelevant.

Lost two games, to the Detroit Pistons 96-85 and Toronto Raptors 96-88, in the following week. 

Feb. 22: Wizards 119, Nuggets 113. Lost possession 18 times but shot 47.7%

Feb 23: Wizards 105, Houston Rockets 103. Turned the ball over 13 times, shot 51.2% and had 31 assists.

Lost to the Pistons again, 96-95 three days later. 

March 13: Wizards 106, Bucks 93. Shot 50% and limited turnovers to 13.

Inexplicably lost to the NBA's worst team over the last two seasons, the Charlotte Bobcats, 119-114 five days later.

March 22: Wizards 103, Los Angeles Lakers 100. Erased an 18-point deficit on the road by committing just nine turnovers and shooting 46%.