Soaring magicians defeat the faltering swans
The Washington Wizards were one of the most surprising teams in the NBA so far.
One of the most disappointing teams was the New Orleans Pelicans.
First-year Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. is trying to keep his team’s quick start in perspective as he takes a four-game winning streak in his home game against the Pelicans on Monday night.
“I’d rather be where we are now,” Unseld said. “You just have to fight this temptation until you feel good about yourself. It wasn’t easy, and I give credit to our guys because we found ways on the nights to win. But we can’t just sit here and say, ‘We’re fine.'” “
The Wizards did so well through a 20-0 first-half that put them in command during their 104-92 win in Orlando on Saturday.
Washington, who started 3-9 a year ago, is 9-3 for the first time since the 2014-15 season. The Witches kept each opponent during their winning streak with less than 95 points.
Washington’s defense was particularly significant with the absence of lead scorer Bradley Beal, who missed Saturday’s game after the death of his grandmother earlier in the week. Unseld said he hoped Bale would be back “soon”.
Spencer Dinwiddy of the Wizards scored 23 points on 10 out of 18 shots from the field and scored 11 rebounds in the season.
“Obviously when Brad comes out, I hit the go button a little earlier, a little more often,” Dinwiddy said. “It’s about not rushing. I feel like I can get a shot at any time; that’s not a question. It’s just about (make-up) of our team. It’s a more complex game than just who shoots and when.”
For only the second time this season, New Orleans has a chance to win back-to-back games. The Pelicans ended their nine-game losing streak by beating Memphis 112-101 on Saturday night to claim their first home win of the season.
Lead scorer Brandon Ingram returned from a nine-game absence due to a groin contusion and scored 19 points. He was one of five scorers in New Orleans to have at least 15 points.
“Men like Brandon lift everyone up in the sense that guys don’t have to do more than they used to,” said Pelicans coach Willie Green. “So everyone was kind of in their normal positions, and they just played together. They played hard. They played together, (they had) great discipline in their game plan, and we won. So it’s good to say that.”
Green said the Pelican’s offensive culling was much better with Ingram in the squad.
“That’s how we want to play,” Green said. “We want to be a team with a fifth point mentality. You pick it up, you lead it, you shoot it, you pass it, and (you) make quick decisions.
“I thought our guys mostly did that, and we have to keep doing it together. That’s what we’re going to be as a team. That’s what we’ve been building toward, and I think they’re just starting to see it. Getting results like[this]makes them believe in it even more.”
–Field Media Level