Posted January 27, 2013 on
AP on Fox
Sparked by the return of their starting point guard, the Washington Wizards have played like a different team following their forgettable start.
The Sacramento Kings, however, can't seem to find an answer for their season-long struggles.
The Wizards will try for their first six-game home winning streak in six years on Monday night when they host the Kings, losers of four straight.
After a 4-28 start, Washington (11-31) no longer has the NBA's worst record after moving a half game ahead of Charlotte with a 114-101 victory over Minnesota on Friday.
The Wizards have shown they can get it done in different ways during their surge.
After shooting a season-high 57.8 percent against the Timberwolves, they won a defensive battle, 86-73, over Central Division-leading Chicago on Saturday.
With a victory over the sliding Kings, Washington will have its longest home winning streak since a 10-game run during the 2006-07 season.
"We are the team we thought we were supposed to be,'' center Emeka Okafor said.
While their run began just before John Wall returned from a left knee injury, the Wizards certainly have built some momentum while playing with a healthy lineup for the first time.
Wall has averaged 14.1 points and 6.7 assists, helping Washington win six of his nine games.
"It's not just me, man. It's never just me. I wanted to come in and be a spark for the team,'' said Wall, who moved back into the starting lineup against Minnesota. "I'm just doing a great job of getting easy shots for my teammates.''
After averaging 89.2 points on 40.9 percent shooting in their first 34 games, the Wizards have put up 99.9 while shooting 47.2 percent from the field in their last eight.
Washington should be able to keep it going against the Kings, who haven't been able to stop anybody recently. Sacramento (16-29) has allowed 111.5 points on 49.4 percent shooting over their four-game skid.
The Kings couldn't stop Bradley Beal in their first look at the Wizards on Jan. 16 - the rookie scored a season-high 26 points and hit 6 of 7 from 3-point range - but managed to contain everyone else. Tyreke Evans made one of two free throws with 11.4 seconds left and finished with 21 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in a 95-94 win.
John Salmons and DeMarcus Cousins also scored 21 apiece to help the Kings finish with a season-best 62 points in the paint.
Cousins, however, will be looking to bounce back after finishing with a season-low three points in a 121-93 loss at Denver on Saturday. It was the first time in his past 17 games he failed to score in double figures.
Sacramento will also need to take better care of the basketball. It's averaged 21.0 turnovers in its last three games after giving it up 20 times against the Nuggets.
"(We) have to play a controlled basketball game," coach Keith Smart said. "I thought our passes were shaky that led to 25 points on 20 turnovers."
It may be a difficult task against a Washington team that has forced 34 turnovers in its last two games.
Sacramento has won three of four against the Wizards, including a 115-107 victory last February that snapped a six-game losing streak in Washington.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
John Wall made his first start of the season in a win Friday over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Wall played well, making 6-of-10 shots and 2-of-3 free throws for 14 points. The Wizards point guard added a rebound, five assists and two blocks.
Despite starting, Wall played few minutes -- just 21 -- than his last five games. In those games, he averaged 27.2 minutes (14.4 points...
(Rob Carr / Getty Images)
With Saturday night’s win over Chicago, the Wizards are miraculously one of the hottest teams in the NBA, going 7-3 in their past ten games. The return of John Wall is probably the most important factor in this recent hot streak, but his ability to improve everyone on this team is probably the most impressive.
The two most notable performers, in...
John Wall had 14 points and five assists in his first start of the season, and the no-longer-last Washington Wizards finally hit double digits in wins Friday night with a 114-101 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Wall, who came off the bench for the first seven games after his return from a knee injury, had assists on the Wizards' first two baskets in a game in which...
1. They’ve won five straight at home!
2. The last four home wins all came by double-digits.
3. They’ve won seven of their last 10 overall!
4. Six of those seven wins came after John Wall’s return.
5. Wall is playing at a high level, especially compared to his first two years. Just look at his per 36 stats, where he’s averaging 20 points and 10 assists, way up over career...
WASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards have been called many names this season. Following their latest victory, one moniker no longer applies: last place. John Wall had 14 points in his first start of the season and the Wizards moved out the NBA's basement with a 114-101 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night. Jordan Crawford paced six double-figure scorers with...
wizards 86 bulls 73
1/26/2013 - Verizon Center, Washington, DC
NBA.com Game Highlights
Emeka Okafor: Even though he wouldn’t admit it was just him in the locker room after the game, John Wall has really been the one factor for improvement with every single player. For the first part of this season, Okafor’s play was frustrating...
WASHINGTON -- Emeka Okafor tallied 15 points and 16 rebounds, and John Wall also had 15 points as the Washington Wizards won their fifth straight home game with an 86-73 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night. Nene's 16 points led the Wizards (11-31), who took control with a 34-11 run overlapping halftime. Washington has won 7 of 10 games after starting the season...
Emeka Okafor had 15 points and 16 rebounds, helping the surging Washington Wizards beat the Chicago Bulls, 86-73, on Saturday night.
John Wall and Nene each scored 16 points for Washington, which has won consecutive games for the second time this season. The Wizards have won five straight at home for the first time in five years and seven of 10 overall.
It's a marked improvement...
Friday, January 25th, 2013
7:00 PM ET
TV: Comcast SportsNet Plus HD
Steve Buckhantz and Phil Chenier
Radio: 106.7 FM/1500 AM
Dave Johnson and Glenn Consor
Timberwolves Projected Starting Lineup
Wizards Projected Starting Lineup
It's time for another NBAwful update, sports fans! It should come as no surprise to anyone that watches the NBA that the Wizards and Bobcats are awful. But this year, they have some company. Cleveland is not rocking, and Phoenix is not burning up the desert. It's NBAwful!The Washington Wizards and Charlotte Bobcats both sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. They&...
Based on the way they've played of late, the Washington Wizards are confident they can bounce back from their latest defeat and possibly end their struggles in Philadelphia.
The Wizards look to avoid a fifth consecutive road loss to the inconsistent 76ers on Wednesday night.
Washington (11-32) has won seven of 11 and is 6-4 since John Wall made his season debut after returning...