The truth is Friday's rout of the Philadelphia 76ers, even with John Wall getting his first triple-double in two years and fourth of his career on the heels of a season-high 41 points, is nothing to celebrate. The Wizards remain a sub.-500 team with a lot of work to do with the Charlotte Hornets tonight (CSN, CSNmidatlantic.com and NBC Sports Live Extra, 6:30 p.m. ET).
"It's just one game, a team that you should beat," said Jared Dudley, who had 13 points, four rebounds and four assists. "The Sixers have been struggling all year. It's some nice little home-cooking before you go to Charlotte. I think that we've established offensively the way we have to play and defensively, can you get enough rebounds? Can you get enough stops and can you keep your turnovers low enough to give yourself a chance to win every night?"
Wall had 18 points, a career-high 13 rebounds and 10 assists two nights after posting 41 points and 10 assists in a loss to the Golden State Warriors. He was 7 of 13 shooting, including 3 of 5 on three-pointers.
Their 38 points in the first quarter were a season-high and they shot better than 50% from the field for the second game in a row.
But the Wizards (22-26) have been known to play down to competition before, including against the Sixers who shocked them 89-81 for their sixth loss in a row at that point. And that came after a 20-point loss to the worst team in the West, the Minnesota Timberwolves.
It's a problem that has persisted with losses already this season and almost reared its ugly head in the fourth quarter. The Wizards led by as many as 25 points but the Sixers (7-43) cut the deficit to nine twice midway through. T.J. McConnell's jumper made the score 86-77 and a three-pointer from Nik Stauskas trimmed it back to 92-83.
Rather than resting, Wall (33 minutes) and Bradley Beal (32) played until the game was almost over.
"We relaxed again a little too much, and that's something this team needs to work on," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "It's one that we've had problems with most of the year. What, we were 25 up and they got it to eight, nine? We turned it over 10 times in the third quarter."
MORE WIZARDS: Wizards yet to determine Bradley Beal's availability