Tuesday December 21, 2010 3:45 p.m.
By Frank Hanrahan
The habit of losing was getting old for the Wizards. It had become tiresome and it had to stop.
After dropping seven straight games, including the one they clumsily coughed up to Miami, the Wizards put forth their most complete effort this season in a rare blowout 108-75 win over Charlotte on Tuesday night at Verizon Center.
For now, the habit is broken.
"We came out with fire you know we didn't like the way we ended the Miami game, we felt like we had that game won," guard Nick Young said. "Losing hurts, we wanted to come and get a victory and we came out punching."
Young continued to play the best basketball of his career as he pumped in 21 points in the win against the Bobcats. With Gilbert Arenas dealt away to Orlando, Young has slid into the starting shooting guard spot seamlessly and will likely thrive even more as the green light has never been brighter for the fourth year pro.
So, Young and Washington looked good in the win but can the 7-19 Wizards carry this over and do something they haven't done all season and win two games in a row? We will find out Wednesday night when Chicago (16-9), led by super guard Derek Rose, is in town.
Wizards coach Flip Saunders is optimistic that winning could be trending his team's way. After the first half in New Jersey, these last 10 quarters we have really played pretty solid basketball," Saunders said.
The Wizards were clicking on both ends of the floor versus Charlotte as the 108 point total was the third highest offensive output of the season and the 75 points allowed was the lowest total of the year so far. "We got into sets, and as I said to our players, you know if you execute you can still score a 100 points, it wasnt like we were running up and down to get 108 points, but we got into sets and we got the shots that we wanted, Saunders said. I think we have been better defensively. We have spent time on it, we worked on it."
Guard Kirk Hinrich will have to shoulder more of the responsibility running the team with rookie John Wall out indefinitely because of a bone bruise under his right knee. Hinrich had a double double (18 points, 11 assists) against the Bobcats but will face a much better team in his old squad Chicago. Hinrich thinks it should be time for his current team to start jelling and being more consistent.
"We should have it by now. We're twenty-plus games into the season. In the past we haven't done a very good job of that, but for whatever reason these past couple games we've been doing a good job of getting our sets, making hard cuts, spacing the floor and sharing the ball," Hinrich said.
Wizards forward Andray Blatche told me he can finally get some sleep after snapping the 7 game losing skid. Now if they could just keep it going, nights won't be as restless anymore.
"We all have been helping out and pitching in to better the team. We are really starting to concentrate more and I can see us maturing and stepping up. The opportunity is available and were taking it," Blatche said.