During the Wizards' recent hot streak, Washington won six of seven games including victories over the Lakers, Nuggets and Trail Blazers.
However, the one team the Wizards couldn't compete with on that West Coast swing was the Los Angeles Clippers, who dominated Washington from start to finish in a 135-116 victory on Feb. 23.
The two teams are set to square off once again on Thursday (7 p.m., NBC Sports Washington) in each team's final game before the All-Star break. And, despite the Clippers' dominance over Washington just last week, star guard Paul George called Thursday's matchup a "must-win" for Los Angeles.
"We've got one more game down the stretch going into the break," George said, via Sports Illustrated. "It's a must-win for us. We want to go into the break with a win. We want to go into the break with something positive."
George's comments are not as much a testament to the Wizards as they are to the Clippers' recent struggles. Los Angeles has dropped its last two games and three of four on their East Coast swing. Currently, the Clippers sit in fourth place in the West behind the Jazz, Suns and Lakers.
There's also a solid chance the Clippers will playing a bit shorthanded. Star Kawhi Leonard missed Tuesday's loss against Boston with back spasms, while Marcus Morris Sr. has been sidelined with a concussion. With an extended break on the horizon, there's a solid chance Leonard misses Thursday's game against Washington, too.
While George feels Thursday's game against the Wizards is a "must-win," it's also a contest Washington would sure like to walk away from with a victory, too. The Wizards have dropped two straight following their hot streak and don't want to enter All-Star weekend with three consecutive Ls.
“The toughest games are the ones right before the break and right after the break because everybody is so looking forward to getting out of here, doing whatever they need to do for the break,” Beal said on Tuesday. “You have to understand great teams, they embrace these times and these wins right before the break, serving as momentum for the second half of the year. This team kicked our ass a few weeks ago, the Clippers, so if we don’t have that same mindset, they’re going to do it again.”
Tune in to Wizards-Clippers on Thursday, March 4 on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage begins at 6 p.m. with Wizards Pregame Live.