Wizards discover some second half magic as surge continues

Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:20pm EST
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By Steve Keating

TORONTO (Reuters) - With just five wins from their first 33 games there was certainly nothing magical about the Washington Wizards' start to the National Basketball Association (NBA)season.

In fact, it was the type of horrific kickoff to a campaign that would have had Harry Potter thumbing through the sorcery text books searching for a winning spell as Washington disappeared to the bottom of the Eastern conference standings.

But with the season heading into the home stretch, the Wizards are on the rise, and notched their third straight win and seventh in nine games with a 90-84 defeat of the Toronto Raptors on Monday.

While it would still take a miracle for Washington (18-37) to claim a playoff spot, the hole the Wizards found themselves in is no longer quite so deep.

"We didn't need a wake-up call, we've already agreed to the fact that the second half of the season is very important," Wizards forward Martell Webster told reporters. "We're not focusing on the playoffs, we're focusing on one game at a time.

"We've been saying that all year and the end result is the end result. Right now we're living in the moment and once the game's over, onto the next."

The return of guard John Wall, the number one overall pick in the 2010 draft and the emergence of rookie Bradley Beal, who the Wizards took with the number three selection in last year's draft, have been the catalyst to Washington's second half surge.

The Wizards are now 13-9 since Wall's comeback from a knee injury that forced him to sit out the opening 33 games while Bradley, the NBA's rookie of the month for December and January, made a team-high 20 points against the Raptors to help Washington to just their fifth road win of the season.   Continued...

Toronto Raptors Kyle Lowry (3) is fouled by Washington Wizards John Wall (2) during the first half of their NBA basketball game in Toronto, February 25, 2013. REUTERS/Aaron Harris