“As long as we’re competing, no excuses,” Wall said.
The Wizards can’t allow themselves to dismiss any win at this point, since they still have a strong chance of finishing the season with the second-worst record in the NBA — 19.9 percent odds of winning the No. 1 overall in the NBA draft lottery — even if they win out.
New Orleans entered Sunday’s game with 20 wins and would keep the Wizards at their current spot with one more victory. If the Wizards finish tied with the same record with any team, each team will receive an average number of lottery combinations for the positions they occupy, with a coin flip determining which team receives the extra combination(s).
But the Wizards players don’t appear to be overly concerned with lottery positioning, especially with Nene coming back and several players discussing a possible winning streak to close out the season in the Heat’s visitor’s locker room after the win in Miami. “I’m very excited,” Wall said of having the chance to finish out the season with the Nene. “He’s just a big man who knows where to be. He knows the spots. He just makes it easier for you.”
A victory over the Bobcats would give the Wizards their first four-game sweep of any opponent in two years — they claimed four wins over the 12-win New Jersey Nets in 2009-10 — and their first four-game winning streak since Dec. 7-15, 2007. If they sweep the last three games, the Wizards would also win six in a row for the first time since Nov. 11-21, 2007. Eight members of their 12-man active roster weren’t even in the NBA back then. Wall was a junior in high school.
The late-season success has helped the team form better chemistry, as the locker room has been filled with jokes and laughter of late, rather than a rush to leave. A few Wizards, including Wall, Crawford, Booker and Jan Vesely, even attended the Capitals playoff game on Sunday. Nene expects more team-building activities will come next season.
“That’s the reason we’re back to play these games, because I need to know my teammates a little bit more,” Nene said. “Next time, I need to bring all the team to a Brazilian restaurant.”