- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 29, 2017

Go back to last Monday, Jan. 23. In Charlotte, the Washington Wizards trailed, 6-5. Otto Porter grabbed a rebound, John Wall made a midrange shot, the Wizards led, 7-6, with 9:49 to play in the first quarter. They have not trailed since.

That’s 141:49 with the lead during this week’s three-game winning streak. Washington pulled away from Charlotte after taking that early advantage on Wall’s jumper. It never trailed the next day against the Boston Celtics during the all-black attire evening. Then, Friday in Atlanta, the Wizards ripped through the Hawks for a 112-86 win. They have won three games this week by an average of 14 points. Sunday night, they play at New Orleans (NBA TV) and try to pick up four wins in a week for the second time this season.

During the span, the Wizards have been balanced. Wall led them with 24 points in Charlotte. Bradley Beal scored 31 against Boston. Otto Porter put up 21 versus Atlanta, a total constricted by the staggering level of the blowout there. Porter was just one of two starters to play more than 30 minutes that night since the game was so in hand.

“We’re kind of on a roll right now,” Markieff Morris said afterward.

What’s been happening?

For one, Wall is on a personal hot streak with midrange jump shooting. In his last three games, he is shooting 48.3 percent from 16 feet to the 3-point line. That’s the area where he features a pull-up jumper, often fading to his right, that needs to be just dangerous enough to give defenses moderate concern. Making those leads to Wall seeming all the more unstoppable off the dribble. The week of quality shooting in that area is a significant uptick. Wall is shooting 42.1 percent from there for the season. Last season, he shot 35.9 percent. The season before, 39 percent.

Second, the Wizards are accomplishing other organizational rarities. The win against Boston came on the second night of a back-to-back. Before that game, they were 2-7 this season on the second night of back-to-backs. They also have two road wins this week. If they win Sunday night, they will have moved their road win total from five to eight in six days.

To this point in January, Washington is fifth in the league in field goal percentage and seventh in points scored. Its offense has moved into the top 10 for the season in points thanks to the monthlong scoring burst.

Television executives and radio producers have noticed. Coach Scott Brooks was invited onto a national radio show this week, as was Wall. Wall also popped into the Inside the NBA set in Atlanta when the Wizards went to play the Hawks.

February 6-10, the Wizards play four games. Three of those will be on national television. Washington started the season with just six games scheduled for national television, a lack of exposure that has often rankled Wall. Washington is receiving the spotlight for at least the next two weeks. What will it do with it?

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