John Wall didn’t hesitate this week when asked to name the favorite memory of his rookie season.
“The road win in Cleveland,” Wall said of the game that he compared to opening presents on Christmas morning.
The Wizards’ 115-100 win on Feb. 13 was the first of three road wins this season, ending a franchise record 26-game road losing streak — and 0-25 start to the season.
After opening the season with a walloping in Orlando, the Wizards (23-58) will finish in Cleveland. In the 80 games in between, the Wizards have set a franchise record for road futility in an 82-game season — regardless of the outcome on Wednesday — and became the first team in the past 20 seasons to win at least 20 games at home while failing to win at least five games on the road (The 2002-03 Chicago Bulls went 27-14 at home and 3-38 on the road).
A win over the Cavaliers (18-63) would ensure that the Wizards claim the season series against three different teams this season, with New Jersey and Utah the others. The Wizards are 2-1 against Cleveland this season.
When the teams met on April 1, they were separated by only three games in the win column. But the Wizards’ recent hot streak — they’ve won five of seven this month — has given them a little separation, even as the Cavaliers have won three of their past five to move out of the bottom spot in the league.
Minnesota (17-64) has lost 14 in row and has the best chance of winning the NBA lottery. The Wizards currently have the fourth-best odds, but are only a game worse than the Sacramento Kings and the New Jersey Nets, who are tied for fifth at 24-57. “You always have people say, ‘You’re winning games. You’re losing lottery balls.’ Those types of things,” Coach Flip Saunders said. “Last year, we showed it’s really not where you are. You’ve got a better chance of not getting the No. 1 as you do getting the No. 1 pick.”
FROM THE POST
The Wizards are happy about their recent performance but apprehensive about the looming lockout.
Andray Blatche is finishing strong after an uneven season.
Boston’s Von Wafer offered a clinic on what not do in a close game during the Wizards’ overtime win over the Celtics.
Dan Steinbeg chronicles Ted Leonsis’s dust-up with ESPN 980 (DC Sports Bog).
AROUND THE WEB
John Wall might not win rookie of the year, but his jersey is more popular than Blake Griffin’s.
New Orleans Hornets forward David West’s season is over, but he is recovering. He also is helping keep the recreational center where John Wall once played afloat.
Bullets Forever asks: Why do the young Wizards refuse to tank?
Rashad Mobley looks at the Jeff Green experiment (Truth About It).
Playoff matchups are still murky in the Western Conference (Sporting News.com).
The Lakers’ Andrew Bynum hyperextends his knee (Los Angeles Times).