Wizards wins are starting to feel like buying a $5 lottery scratch ticket and winning a dollar back. Hey, a dollar! I won! Yea, but I invested five. No, this feeling doesn’t involve tanking for lottery balls, as getting upset with wins that hurt chances doesn’t matter to me. Although, not relishing in the loss doesn’t necessarily mean my apathy toward the Wizards winning has nothing to do with the fact that it might help. Essentially, I want winning when it matters. This season, it doesn’t. That said, close losses due to low-IQ basketball plays or blowouts due to the absence of hustle are disturbances. Emotion is involved.
Then comes the difference between me having a rooting interest in the Washington pro basketball franchise, versus covering the team, versus the players and personnel who are stopping through at this point in time. Beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 101-98 on Saturday night was good for them, especially the players. Locker rooms after losses can be fractured, and it goes past what the media sees. Some of us have been apart of this on various levels. Winning unites in more unspoken words than a picture. Good-natured locker room scenes provide much needed boosts to morale, on top of being a reward for the hard basketball work.
The Washington Wizards since the All-Star break, now with one win and two losses, have put on more consistent displays of good basketball, especially the sharing part. The 26 assists against Cleveland is tied for the second most this season (21.7 assist average in the last three games, up from 17.7 before the break). Shooters are finding open shots, percentages are up (eFG% in last three games at 0.502, was 0.456 pre-All-Star break). Plus, partially thanks to Roger Mason and Mo Evans, they are making more 3-pointers — 27 team 3-pointers (12 from Mason and Evans) in the past three games represents 15.3-percent of the season’s total. The Wizards still show bad habits, drop packs of cigarettes on the floor as Randy Wittman says, and are still susceptible to being “fragile,” as Flip Saunders used to say.
Where they will go with the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, Portland Trail Blazers, at San Antonio Spurs and at Dallas Mavericks as the next five games on the schedule (followed by four more games of a six-game road trip), we will see. But at least on this Saturday night, the pendulum of locker room moods, personality, and clowning swung to the home side of the Verizon Center. The Wiz Kids felt a little better about themselves, and that’s a good thing. They needed it. Six game losing streaks get old. But the suits, they can always be new, just as long as they don’t smell like cigarette smoke.