As Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau was quick to point out this morning, he coached Scott Brooks. He knows the kind of intensity Brooks brings to the game. And so no, he is in no way surprised at the impact Brooks has had in his first season coaching the Washington Wizards.
The Wizards enter tonight’s game with the Wolves at Target Center having won five straight games and seven of their last eight.
More impressive: Of those seven victories, five have come on the road, including their last four games, which were victories in Phoenix, Denver, Sacramento and Portland.
“Scott’s done great,’’ Thibodeau said of Brooks.
The two crossed paths twice. Brooks came to the Wolves in 1990, when Thibodeau was an assistant here. He also played briefly for the Knicks while Thibodeau was an assistant there.
“They’re healthy and they’re playing well,’’ Thibodeau said of the Wizards, who enter tonight’s game second in the Eastern Conference, percentage points ahead of Boston and two games behind first-place Cleveland. “They’ve gotten stronger as the season has gone along. That teams is playing at a very high level right now. To go on the road and do what they’ve done, it’s a credit to everyone.’’
At 41-24, the Wizards have matched last season’s win total. The dynamic backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal is leading the way, with both players having career years. Wall is averaging career highs in points (23.1), shooting percentage (45.0) and assists (10.8). Beal – who has struggled with injuries in the past – is healthy and scoring 23.2 points, a career high.
“I know both of those guys a little bit from Team USA,’’ Thibodeau said of Beal and Wall. “I think they’ve gotten better every year. Scott did a terrific job in Oklahoma City (where he went 338-227 over seven seasons, reaching three Western Conference championship series and advancing once to the NBA Finals). I coached Scott. I know him pretty well, the way he approaches things. The big thing is they’re healthy this year. That’s a big plus.’’
Here are some other notes from shootaround:
--It was nice to see Zach LaVine at Target Center this morning. Still doing daily rehab coming back from ACL surgery, Wiggins, moving rather well with a big brace on his left knee – is taking part in morning shootarounds.
--One reason for optimism for Wolves fans? This is the fifth and final game of the Wizards’ five-game road trip. And while they won the first four, the last two – victories at Sacramento and Portland – were in overtime. It might be a rather tired team taking the Target Center floor tonight.