MINNEAPOLIS – The Wizards will try to win four consecutive road games for the first time since March 2008, but if they can snap a three-game losing skid in Minnesota, Washington (12-13) would also win four straight games without a home game in between for the first time since 1973. Though the Wizards haven’t played since beating Boston, 106-99, last Saturday, Coach Randy Wittman doesn’t believe that the extended layoff will affect his team.
“I told them after the Boston game that we’re getting an identity of going out and believing that when you walk into foreign territory, in another person’s arena, you’re going to go in and you’re going to play well and you’re going to win and that’s a big step,” Wittman said. “That’s the step you have to take to get to that next level that you want to get to. If you could sweep these four games, that would be a heck of a trip.”
The Wizards are 0-3 on three or more days of rest this season and have actually gone 4-2 on the second end of back-to-back games – which might improve their chances against the Detroit Pistons on Saturday at Verizon Center. Wittman said the Wizards had a good practice when they reconvened Thursday night.
“Our guys were in tune. I told them, this was the last game of a four-game set on the road, and winning the first three, we can’t lose sight of where we’re at and what we’re doing,” he said. “I think all of our guys had an opportunity to spend some time with family and friends over the holidays. That’s always important. Sometimes, in this business, we don’t have the luxury of a schedule that we a break like we did. I thought it was good timing for it.”
John Wall had a career-high matching 16 assists to lead the Wizards to a 104-100 victory over the Timberwolves on Nov. 19 at Verizon Center. The win triggered a string of seven wins in nine games and help turnaround the season after a 2-7 start. The Wizards have won 10 of their past 16 games. During their recent three-game winning streak, Wall is averaging 20.3 points and 7.6 assists.
“His floor game has made a big difference,” Wittman said of Wall. “He’s continuing to grow in that and understanding where he can push it to the limit and where he needs to back off, where the jump is, where he can get it to the rim, where he can find guys that are open, who’s hot, getting guys the ball that need it at a particular time. that’s a growth for a guy at point guard. His floor game during this stretch has been really good.”
Wittman will continue to keep Bradley Beal and Nene to their respective minute restrictions. Nene will come off the bench for the third game in a row.
Kevin Seraphin, who has scored at least 10 points in three of his past four games is doubtful with a sore right knee. He had an MRI on Friday that didn’t reveal anything serious but he has been battling the injury for a few days.
(TV: Comcast SportsNet Plus, NBATV. Radio: WFED-1500).
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