Most would agree that this is the most crucial stretch of the season for the Wizards (21-22), who have two games left on this four-game West coast road trip. While Saturday's loss to the Utah Jazz is disappointing, it hardly should be that much of a surprise. It was the second of a back-to-back, after a grueling comeback victory the previous night at the fast-pace Phoenix Suns.
It showed on John Wall, who missed seven of his first eight shots of the 104-101 loss to the Jazz. But with games at the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday and at the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday, the Wizards will be playing two better teams in the same format.
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Coach Randy Wittman doesn't look at it that way, even though when the Wizards return to Verizon Center they have games vs. the Oklahoma City on Saturday, vs. the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday and Wednesday vs. the San Antonio Spurs.
"It's not about that. I'm worried about us playing our way. If you lose our way, we move on to the next game," said Wittman, whose team is 6-5 without rest between games. "Nothing needs to be said. But we can't (forget) how we need to play. That's the main thing."
For the fifth time since the season opener, the Wizards have failed to get over .500. A bad stretch of play here and they might not be able to dig out of such a deep hole.
"You don't know really know if it's going to be a crucial step until after it happens," Wittman said. "That's how I kind of look at it. We've got to go back out and play the way we're capable playing on the road. … Then you come back home for the next game."