The key to finding consistency for the Wizards may be winning on the road

The Wizards’ road losing record stands out as the team looks for consistency, it has proven to be pretty broken so far.

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WASHINGTON — It’s very common for NBA teams to be better at home than on the road. In fact, of the 30 teams in the league, only three currently have better road records than they do at home.

So the Wizards now being 8-4 at Capital One Arena compared to 3-6 on the road is not unusual. They protect their home turf, as most teams do.

However, their losing record on the road stands out as the Wizards look for consistency, they have proven to be quite the spoils thus far. They are 11-10 with a four-game winning streak and two three-game losing streaks.

It also stands out because 14 of their next 19 games are on the road, including 10 of their next 13. They recently started a 17-of-23-game stretch away from DC

“It will be a very, very important time for us; 17 out of 23, right? This is it,” Kyle Kuzma said. “Getting wins on the road is extremely important because you want to protect yourself at home in this league in the regular season, and if you can go .500 on the road and steal some games, then you put yourself in a position to not work just as much when April comes.”

After Monday’s win over the Timberwolves, as the Wizards prepare to travel to Brooklyn to play the Nets on Wednesday, the team’s consensus about playing on the road is that it comes down to defense. Head coach Wes Unseld Jr. said the Wizards have to “travel with” their defense on road trips.

However, simply crunching the numbers, it appears their offense has been a problem. Rather amazingly, the Wizards allow the exact same number of points at home as they do on the road (111.4/g). But they score more (112.3/g, +0.9) at Capital One Arena than elsewhere (108.2/g, -3.2).

It can be as simple as them making three at home and missing on the road. At home, the Wizards are averaging the league’s seventh-highest three-pointers per game (13.1) and sixth-highest shooting percentage (39.3). On the road, they’re 30th out of 30 NBA teams in both three-pointers made (8.4/g) and percentage (27.4%).

So, on average, they make 4.7 more 3-pointers per game at home, which equates to 14.1 more points from the perimeter. While some on the Wizards might point out how getting defensive stops leads to better scoring opportunities in transition, those are the numbers.

Beyond the stats, though, the Wizards believe winning on the road comes down to how they approach these games.

“Just realizing that good teams win on the road, it’s that simple,” Bradley Beal said. “It’s not easy, but to get where you want, we have to win on the road. It’s great that we can protect our home, but we have to keep that momentum going and focus on the road as well, because we can.”

There could be added importance to the Wizards taking home success on the road given what happened to the team last year. It came up during Kuzma’s postgame press conference Monday as the Wizards began to show signs of trouble around this time last season after a 10-3 start.

The Wizards had a multitude of issues contributing to the 2021-22 season, but were 21-20 at home compared to 14-27 on the road. Overall, Kuzma thinks what this year’s team is doing is more sustainable.

“We will all fight, we will fight. Last year I gave in too quickly. It won’t be us this year,” he said.

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