Story By: Sol Tucker
Photos By: Sol Tucker
Over the past five home games for the Wizards, there have been quite a bit of highs and very little lows with this team. There have also been quite a few “stay in your seats folks” until the final seconds games… tonight was another one of those.
The Hornets kept the Wizards on the ropes the final minute with quite a few quick shots to get the game within 3 to 4 points, however the Wizards were able to make those late free throw shots that have cost them quite a few games in previous seasons and knock off the Hornets, 106-102 for their 6th victory in 7 games.
With a 10-7 record, the Wizards are a brand-new blend of starters and bench depth that we have not seen in quite a long time. After Sunday’s win over the Hornets, they now rank 6th in the NBA in defensive rating. Last year, they were 25th in the same category.
Washington had another strong night from both Kyle Kuzma (28 points) and Bradley Beal with 26 points in 41 minutes of action.
After the game Wizards Head Coach Wes Unseld Jr. was asked what was the difference that has led the team to 6 wins in their last 7 games,
“Defensively I think we’ve been a lot better, a lot more disciplined,” said Unseld Jr. Our level of communication in general has been better. We’re playing with a little more purpose. I know it’s not always perfect, but I think it’s lent to better offense, the uptick in threes. I think that all goes hand-in-hand,” he said.
Another solid benefit is Unseld seems to be getting some confidence from his bench players such as Deni Avdija. He had another solid night with 12 points (6-11 FG, 0-3 3Pt, 0-1 FT), 13 rebounds.
One big concern in the final seconds that could affect the Wizards in the upcoming games is the status of Beal. He was not for the final 9.8 seconds despite Washington being up just two points. He walked with a slight limp to the locker room before the game ended after taking a knee to the thigh.
Unseld Jr. was also asked about the status of Beal as he did not speak with reporters after the game. “He received extensive treatment after the game and will be re-evaluated Monday.”
Washington will get a few days rest before facing the Heat in Miami on Wednesday and then again on Friday night.