The Wizards struggled the first 10 games of the season, but their play over the following 31 games of the first half of the season was extremely encouraging. I’m excited about the second 41 (we split our first two games of the second half by winning in New York and losing on a tip-in at the buzzer in Detroit), and I’m looking forward to us continuing to improve and execute Scott Brooks’ system.
Below are several “facts” through the first 41 games. I’m sure others may have “alternative facts” and can point to less flattering statistics, but I believe these demonstrate we have made significant progress during the first half of the season.
The Wizards ranked in the NBA top 10:
Field goal percentage (.471) – 4th
Steals per game (8.6) – 4th
Fast break points per game (15.0) – 6th
Assists per game (23.1) – 9th
Points off turnovers per game (16.8) – 9th
Points in the paint per game (44.3) – 9th
Second-chance points per game (13.3) – 10th
* Our 18 home wins were tied for the most in the Eastern Conference (Cleveland).
* We won an NBA best 13 straight home games from Dec. 8–present. The last 13-game streak at home was when the Bullets won 15 in a row in 1989. The current streak at Verizon Center is the fourth-longest in team history.
* The Wizards went 19-10 (.655) since opening the season 3-9. Three of those seven defeats came on last-second shots at Oklahoma City, San Antonio and Indiana and one came in overtime after a last-second shot in regulation in Memphis.
* We have won 10 games this season when we have trailed by double digits. (Toronto is the only other team to accomplish this.)
* We went 10-5 in December, one of four Eastern Conference teams to win double-digit games.
* In December we shot .495 percent (1st in NBA) to average 108.6 points (6th in NBA, 3rd in East).
* We scored 18.3 points off turnovers (6th in NBA, 2nd in East) and scored 14.9 fast-break points (7th in NBA, 3rd in East) per game.
Since our 2-8 start and through Game No. 41, we were:
* 10th in offensive efficiency
* 12th in defensive efficiency
* 4th highest field goal percentage
* 6th highest three-point percentage
* 7th most assists
Admittedly, our defense still needs work since the 2-8 start – we were still 23rd in opponent field goal percentage and 22nd in opponent three-point field goal percentage. But we did force the most turnovers in the NBA since the 2-8 start and improved our defensive rebounding, which was second best in the NBA in games 30-41.
We have more work to do, but our play improved the last three-quarters of the first half of the season – that’s a good sample size. We need to continue to make progress, and while I love the home winning streak, we have to improve our play on the road.
Our fans have been great – thank you – and they have contributed to our home success. I look forward to cheering along with them when we return home Tuesday against Boston.