The Washington Wizards a much better team this season. At this time last season they were 24-24. This season they are 31-19 but are on a season high four game losing streak. They have lost six of their last eight games. All the losses are against playoff teams.
The Charlotte Hornets have a losing record but they are the seventh seed in the East. Recently Washington is in the habit of starting games slowly. They have been outscored in the first quarter in their last five games. They are 1-4 during that stretch with the only win coming against the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Wizards need to get it together quickly. They are currently third in the Eastern Conference but Cleveland and Chicago are only one game behind them in the lost column. We all know the Cavs are on a hot streak and the Wizards can slide from third to fifth by next week.
This bad play started when they dropped a home game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on January 21. They had that game but allowed Russell Westbrook to hit a layup to send it into overtime. Westbrook beat them with a wide open layup during overtime.
At this point in the season Washington has to do a better job against quality opponents. They were down 17 to Toronto at home before forcing it into overtime. Phoenix held them to only 17 first quarter points while scoring 29 of their own and never looked back.
The Hornets went into Washington and beat them without Kemba Walker. They held them to only 37 points in the second half. These are games the Wizards should dominate especially if they want to make a run in the playoffs. The only team they seem to play well against on a consistent basis is the Chicago Bulls.
This previous stretch was tough but they had rest between games. There were two back-to-backs, they beat Denver in one and lost to Phoenix in the other. They waited for Toronto and Charlotte and lost both games.
The Wizards are on the second night of a back-to-back tonight against the Hornets. No disrespect to Charlotte but they are 21-27 with a negative point differential. Washington should blow them out or control the entire game. Either way it should be a win.
After tonight they have home games against the Nets and Magic before heading back to Toronto to take on the Raptors before the All-Star break. The Cavaliers are right behind them in the standings but have two tough games against the Clippers and Bulls before the break.
The Wizards could go on a four game winning streak before the break but they need to get out of their first quarter funks. Someone on the Wizards has to step up in the first quarter.
Paul Pierce can give the speeches but he usually saves his heroics for the fourth quarter. John Wall or Bradley Beal has to step up or get Nene and Gortat going early.
This team is good but giving up big points in the first quarter is not going to work come playoff time. They have time to turn it around and they have the weapons.