The Washington Wizards closed in the same way they started last week-in a comeback victory.
The Wizards started the week with 19 points behind the New Orleans Pelicans in the third quarter-this victory was played without star Bradley Beal. The player was absent due to the death of his grandmother, and the team’s winning streak increased to five games, giving the team a rare 10-2 start in history.
Washington then lost two consecutive games, one of which was lost to the Miami Heat on Thursday, and then lost 16 points midway through the third quarter against the visiting Heat on Saturday. But the victory over the Pelicans, and several other comeback victories earlier this season, gave point guard Spencer Dinwiddie and his Wizards teammates confidence – even if they found themselves behind by double digits.
“Knowing that we’ve been there before,” Dinwiddie said of how the Heat kept their calm after their 18-2 victory over the team in the third quarter. “Believe that we can win and try to make the right game. As long as you don’t blame and quarrel, you won’t let things snowball. You can stick to it, try to do the right thing, and then shoot a few shots.”
In Saturday’s 103-100 victory over the Heat, Dinwiddie, Kentavius Caldwell-Pope and Kyle Kuzma are vital to the Wizards. This is the team’s foundation. The fourth important comeback victory of the season.
In addition to the victory over the Heat and Pelicans last week, the Wizards returned from 9 games with less than 6 minutes left in the game against the Cavaliers on November 10. The team also defeated the Celtics in double overtime in late October, even though they were already behind the first six players with less than 2:30 remaining in overtime.
The comeback victory is an important reason why the Wizards continue to make one of the best starts in team history. Their 11-5 record tied for second place with the team, second only to the Baltimore Bullets, which started 12-4 in the 1968-69 season, and the 1974-75 and 2014-15 seasons.
After Saturday’s NBA game, Washington ranked second in the Eastern Conference after ranking first earlier this week. The 1968-69 season the team ended the season 57-25, and the 1974-75 season the team won 60 games and lost to the Golden State Warriors in the finals. Both teams are led by the elder Wes Unseld, whose son is now the coach of the Wizards. At the same time, the 2014-15 team won 46 games and won the playoff series.
Wes Unseld Jr. said that the mentality of comeback is the “fiber” of his team.
“Of course, you will feel frustrated, but it depends on how you react,” he said. “I think we have proven time and time again that we will have to continue to do this because we will participate in a lot of close matches. We just won’t give up and say “tonight is not our night”. We continue to fight.”
For a variety of reasons, the Wizards trailed by 16 points with 6:30 left in the third quarter. The most challenging is that center Daniel Garford and Montrez Harrell both got into foul trouble in the second quarter, forcing Unseld to play a small lineup in the last seven minutes of the half. The Wizards only scored 15 points in the second quarter.
Washington also continued to struggle with errors in the game. After turning the ball 17 times in Thursday’s loss to Miami, Washington sent the ball 7 times in the first quarter and 19 times at the end of the night. The Wizards lost 11 of their 16 games with turnovers.
Then came the Heat’s 18-2 run, and then the Wizards ran 9-2 to ease the blow.
Bradley Beal said: “They had a big run and it became ugly in one minute,” said Bradley Beal, who led the team with 21 points and 9 assists. “But we insisted on our position. We didn’t panic, we got out of the predicament a little bit, and we ran very well.”
In the middle of the fourth quarter, Jimmy Butler and the Heat seemed to be moving apart. Butler’s backward jumper with 4:42 left in the game gave the Heat a 10 point lead.
But just then Dinwiddie and Caldwell-Pope took over, each of them made two three-pointers, Caldwell-Pope equalized and Dinwiddie took the lead. Kuzma, who didn’t score two points until the last minute of the game, made four consecutive free throws and defended closely on Miami’s last possession to win. This victory improved Washington’s record in the Capital One Arena this season to 7-1-as of Sunday afternoon, this is the NBA’s second-largest home stadium.
As Unseld described, although this victory was a “character victory”, winning the game by recovering from a double-digit deficit in the second half was not a model of success.
“It’s ugly, but we are looking for a way to win,” Bill said. “We like this, but at the same time, in order to become a great team and achieve greater victories in the playoffs, we have to clean up a lot of these things.”