The Wizards have had an up and down season thus far, but that won’t stop their schedule from becoming any less grueling than it is. After wrapping up a stretch of four games in five nights last week, the Wizards managed to pick up three wins against Minnesota Timberwolves, Cleveland Cavaliers and most recently the New York Knicks. Washington will have a few days to rest before beginning the same stretch of games all over again, but this time against the Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, Indiana Pacers and a concluding game against their division rival Atlanta Hawks.
Although the Wizards will inevitably remain competitive in the lowly Eastern Conference, head coach Randy Wittman has consistently preached about wanting his team to win at least half of its games in back-to-back match ups, which is something every NBA team will have to endure multiple times throughout the season.
Wittman on back-to-back games: That’s what you have to do…Looking back over the summer, the eight playoff teams were .500 on the second night of back to backs.
Martell Webster, who’s considered a leader on this young Wizards team, also spoke about having to win at least one game in back-to-back games:
Being able to take care of back-to-backs is big. We’re trying to be .500 or above in our back-to-back situations. In the East, looks like it doesn’t take very much to get in the playoffs, but more importantly, we have to be able to play the game the right way.
Even though the team relies mostly on it’s younger talent, having to consistently travel and play back-to-back games at home and on the road will take a toll on their bodies. Washington’s thin bench hasn’t given the starters any relief, which makes it even more difficult for the coaching staff to plan for these tough stretches.
Bradley Beal currently leads the NBA in minutes per game, while John Wall is sixth in the league. If the Wizards want to make the post season, they’ll have to find a way to get more production from their reserves. Trevor Ariza and Al Harrington, who are currently sidelined with injuries, are expected to be back sooner rather than later so their bench’s production should increase.
If the Wizards could continuously win games in back-to-back situations, I have no doubt that they’ll remain competitive for the rest of the season. It’s not often where a team that depends so much on their young players have succeeded in these types of stretches, but the coaching staff has done a great job preparing the team. Let’s hope their recent success will continue on this upcoming series of games.