Washington Wizards: 149-146 win over Brooklyn Nets needs to be a turning point for the Wizards

Can the Washington Wizards play the Brooklyn Nets every game?

The Brooklyn Nets have the best odds of any Eastern Conference team to win the NBA Finals. The Washington Wizards currently have the worst winning percentage in the NBA (0.250). The Wizards are 2-0 this season vs. the Nets.

It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but it’s the truth. The Wizards are now 2-0 vs. the Brooklyn Nets and 2-12 vs. everybody else.

Besides two W’s in the win column, the Wizards don’t have much to show for their two wins over the Nets. They’re still at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. But this win, one in which the Wizards took over late in the game instead of getting lucky with some late-game misses by the Nets, could be a sign of things to come.

The Wizards are running out of time to turn this season around. It’s been a disastrous start, full of injuries and COVID-19 protocol. But the Wizards are finally getting healthy. Ish Smith, Deni Avdija, and Troy Brown were all available for the first time since January 11.

Nobody’s return has been bigger than Russell Westbrook‘s, though. Westbrook is finally looking like the point guard the Wizards were hoping they got in the John Wall trade. After behind slowed by a quad injury through the first dozen or so games, Westbrook is looking like his old self.

Against the Nets, Westbrook had his best game thus far as a Wizard. He finished with 41 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, and two steals. He hit the go-ahead three with seconds left in the fourth quarter. He sought out Kevin Durant on the defensive end as the game wound down.

Over the last two games, Westbrook is averaging 34 points, eight rebounds, and six assists on 52 percent shooting. Recently, he’s been everything the Wizards traded for.

The Washington Wizards need to turn their season around. The win over the Brooklyn Nets was a good start.

If this is what the Wizards can expect out of a healthy Westbrook, they may have a chance to turn this season around. Despite their 4-12 record, there is reason to be optimistic about this team. Of their 12 losses, only four have been by more than ten points. All four of those losses came while the Wizards were severely shorthanded with players in COVID-19 health and safety protocol.

They’ve also found some minutes for the right guys, too. Sharpshooter Garrison Mathews is finally getting good playing time after being a fixture on the end of the bench. Over the last seven games, Mathews is averaging over 25 minutes per contest after appearing in just three of the team’s first nine games, never for more than 11 minutes. Like Westbrook, Moe Wagner had his best game of the season in the win over the Nets, finishing with 17 points, five rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Wagner has appeared in just seven of the team’s first 16 games and has only played more than 20 minutes twice, including in the win over Brooklyn.

Scott Brooks said that Mathews will continue to get big minutes as the team gets back to full strength. Hopefully, Wagner will be the next Wizard who is rewarded with more minutes for good play, like Mathews.

The Wizards’ win over the Brooklyn Nets is the type of win that can be — and needs to be — a turning point on the season. Hell, even Scott Brooks celebrated with a White Claw.

No matter what, Bradley Beal is going to be Bradley Beal. He continued his scorching scoring streak with a 37-point, six-rebound, four-assist night in the win. But the much-needed help is getting healthy and returning. Now that the Wizards at full strength and realizing which pieces are worth playing, time to string some wins together. The season ain’t over yet.