Washington Wizards: February will be a make-or-break month

Washington Wizards Bradley Beal. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Washington Wizards Bradley Beal. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports /

Strap in, Washington Wizards fans. This is going to be a big month.

The Washington Wizards ended January on the right note. In their final game of 2021’s first month, the Wizards finally got everyone back from COVID-19 health and safety protocol and then staged an epic comeback win vs. the Brooklyn Nets. Hopefully, that win was a turning point for the team because February will be a brutal month for the Wizards.

Here’s what’s on the docket for February: 16 games and five back-to-backs in 28 days. If you were asking for more Wizards basketball, you got it. You’ve got A LOT of it. After playing 11 games during the entire month of January, the Wizards will only get 12 days off during February.

Games are never gimmes in the NBA, but this stretch will be especially tough for Washington. Of the 16 games, six will be vs. teams the Wizards have already lost to — the Heat (twice), Bulls, Celtics (twice), and Rockets. Nine of the 16 games are against teams that enter the month with a winning record — the Trail Blazers (twice), Celtics (twice), Nuggets, Lakers, Clippers, and Rockets. And although the Heat aren’t amongst the upcoming teams with winning records, they have Jimmy Butler back now, making them a much tougher opponent than their record indicates.

The Washington Wizards are packing the most action into the shortest month.

February will be a trial by fire if this team has ever seen one. While the Wizards could still take this season in a few different directions, February should force them to pick a lane. The Wizards’ playoff aspirations will either rise from the ashes or fall six-feet deep after this 28-day sprint.

The cluster of games will force this team that is finally getting fully healthy (maybe for the first time) to figure things out fast. It’s entirely possible that this feels like a very different Wizards team after these next 16 games. For better or for worse.

So far this season, Russell Westbrook has yet to play the second half of a back-to-back series. We’ll see if that continues as games become more and more important as the season wanes on. Westbrook is finally getting healthy after dealing with a quad injury he suffered before the season began. The team obviously looks much better with him healthy — especially when he’s pouring in near 41-point near-triple-doubles like he had vs. Brooklyn. We’ll see if Westbrook is durable enough to withstand some back-to-backs now that he’s at or close to 100 percent. Or will the Wizards continue to play it safe and keep him on the sideline?

The Wizards start things off tonight with a battle against Russell Westbrook’s old foe, Damian Lilliard. Unfortunately, CJ McCollum is injured, so we won’t see these backcourts battle at full strength. But there will be fireworks, either way. When Westbrook and Lillard matchup, it is must-see TV.

Here’s what the Wizards’ frantic February looks like…

  • Feb. 2 vs. Portland Trail Blazers
  • Feb. 3 @ Miami Heat
  • Feb. 5 @ Miami Heat
  • Feb. 7 @ Charlotte Hornets
  • Feb. 8 @ Chicago Bulls
  • Feb. 10 vs. Toronto Raptors
  • Feb. 12 vs. New York Knicks
  • Feb. 14 vs. Boston Celtics
  • Feb. 15 vs. Houston Rockets (John Wall returns to D.C.)
  • Feb. 17 vs. Denver Nuggets
  • Feb. 20 @ Portland Trail Blazers
  • Feb. 22 @ Los Angeles Lakers
  • Feb. 23 @ LA Clippers
  • Feb. 25 @ Denver Nuggets
  • Feb. 27 vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Feb. 28 @ Boston Celtics

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