It's a real shame that the Washington Wizards got off to such a poor start this season. The Wizards began the season with 12 straight losses, and were 4-28 at one point. Since then, the team is 11-7. While that record -- with healthy players, what a luxury! -- may be a more accurate reflection of the team's quality, the hole is just too big to fill, as I wrote in a weekend playoff picture update.

It's unfortunate particularly because the Wizards just might have a good three-player core here. Washington extended its win streak to a season-long four on Monday, blasting the Bucks in Milwaukee. All four wins have come against playoff teams. Bradley Beal was the star of this show with 28 points on 10-17 shooting off the bench. But beyond that the Wizards continued a strong trend: good things happen when Nene, Emeka Okafor and John Wall play together. The crew has 200 minutes under its belt now, and is outscoring opponents by five points per 100 possessions in that time. Particularly important for Okafor has been Nene's presence: Emeka is a +3 overall but a +7 with Nene. The Brazilian has an off-the-charts plus-minus (+15), thanks largely to how stunningly awful (-10) the Wizards have been when Nene sits. Wall is a +14 after 400 minutes, including a +6 when playing.