The early part of the season was, objectively, a rough start for the Wizards.
They began the season 3-12 and were the worst defensive team in the league and had a number of players impacted by coronavirus.
Then, the switch flipped.
Washington won five games in a row, a stretch that included wins over the Celtics, Trail Blazers and Lakers, and won seven of eight games. Since Feb. 14, they’re 8-3 and have put themselves back into the playoff conversation at 14-20 and a lineup growing in confidence.
“I think [Russell Westbrook] being a little bit healthier helps us, us getting our full team helped us,” Bradley Beal said during an All-Star Game pregame media availability. “We understood the west coast was all championship caliber teams we were playing. We couldn’t just go in and play the way we’d been playing early in the year. We had a really good practice before we went out west. We kind of carried that momentum throughout the games.”
Beal played like an All-Star from the start of the finish, but the Wizards have certainly stepped up their play around him.
Westbrook has gotten healthier and averaged 19.8 points per game, 10.1 assists and 10 rebounds in February. The team's defense has improved.
The first of the Wizards’ final 38 games will happen Wednesday against the Grizzlies, where they’ll look to continue the momentum they built before the All-Star break. And Beal is confident that, with everyone in the mix, they’ll continue to turn things around.
“We’ve been playing really good but I think it’s just a testament to us getting back healthy, being dialed into defense because that’s what’s going to win us games — that’s what keeps us in games — and honestly everybody getting their rhythm back,” Beal continued. “DB (Davis Bertans) has his flow back, Rui is getting his flow, Russ is getting his flow, I been flowin’ all year. It’s been good for us.”