Three-point defense improving - Three-point defense was a glaring weakness for the Wizards last season when they were 28th in the NBA in opponents three-point percentage. This year those struggles continued for the first few months, as the Wizards ranked 27th in the category on Jan. 1, after 32 games. But in the month-plus since, the Wizards have gotten much better. In the 19 games since New Year’s, the Wizards are seventh in basketball, keeping opponents to a modest 34.6 percentage from three.
That improvement was put to the test on Monday against the Cavaliers, who make more threes than anyone in the East (13/g). They hit 19 of their 38 attempts (50%) against the Wizards and both LeBron James and Kevin Love hit six apiece.
The Cavs game, however, was not indicative of how good the Wizards have been lately and that improvement has been noticed by coach Scott Brooks and his players:
Brooks: "We've done a better job of staying in front of our man and not helping as much. It's being able to contest on the catch and not a second late. There are so many great shooters in this league. A lot of the great teams spread you out all over the floor. But we've done a great job contesting the three-point line. That's something that we struggled with the first month of the season. We're better, but we still have room to improve in that area. We've talked about it the last couple of weeks, the unneccessary help we have to eliminate. There's a fine line with that, but our guards and our bigs are starting to have really good chemistry together on the defensive end."
John Wall: "I think just understanding our positions defensively. We have been switching a lot lately to try to make guys go and finish at the rim."
LeBron James never fouls out - The Wizards saw LeBron foul out just :47 seconds into overtime on Monday night. It turns out that was just the fifth time he has ever fouled out in 1,233 games, including the playoffs. The last time he did foul out was Jan. 10, 2014. Monday was just the second time he has fouled out since April 2 of 2008.
LeBron basically fouls out one every 2.8 seasons, so what Wizards fans witnessed at the Verizon Center on Monday was quite rare. Just take a look at some things which have happened more often than LeBron fouling out since he entered the league in 2003:
- MLB perfect games: 7
- MLB no-hitters: 16
- Olympics (summer and winter) 7
- NBA 60-point games: 12
- NBA 11 threes games: 11
- NBA 11-block games: 8
- NHL 6-point games: 14
- NFL 6-passing TD games: 17
- NFL 500-yd. passing games: 12
There have only been four presidential elections since LeBron entered the league, meaning he fouls out only slightly more often than the U.S. elects presidents.
(Via Basketball Reference, Hockey Reference, Football Reference, Baseball Reference)
Lue recalls playing with Jordan - Speaking of the Cavs, their head coach Tyronn Lue recalled his days playing for the Wizards (2001-03) during his pregame media session on Monday. Naturally, playing with Michael Jordan stands out:
“Just Jordan. He brought all the energy to the city, up to the games. it was sold out for two straight years. I think they had lost for five straight years and his two years being back, they made up for all of that. Just his buzz in the city, just Michael Jordan being who he is, the best player of all time, that buzz created a lot of stuff for this city.”
Lue said he still has a bunch of memoralbilia from those days:
“A lot. A jersey (Wizards/Bulls, also game-worn shoes - two pairs signed) We got it done. We got it taken care of. I earned it by playing hard every night. That’s all I could give him. That’s how I earned it. ... I got a nice museum. A really good collection, a very, very nice collection. I pride myself on that collection.”
Eastern Conference standings
Stat line of the week: John Wall 2/2 vs. Lakers - 33 points, 11 assists, 3 rebounds, 3 steals, block, 8-for-10 FT
Quote of the Week
"Honestly, it's the best feeling in the world seeing all the fans in yellow leaving with two minutes left."
Tweet (or Instagram) of the Week
Schedule at a glance
Mon. - 140-135 (OT) loss to Cavs
Tue. - OFF
Wed. - 7:30 p.m. at Nets
Thu. - OFF
Fri. - 8 p.m. vs. Pacers
Sat. - OFF
Sun. - OFF