After Anthony Davis dropped an NBA-high 59 points to go along with his 20 rebounds in a win against Detroit a few nights ago, he and the rest of his Pelicans flew to DC for an unusual Tuesday night.
Unusual as in the Verizon Center had a pretty surprising turnout considering it was another rainy day in the District, it was a TUESDAY (nothing is worse than Tuesday except Monday), and it was the Wizards playing the Pelicans. I don’t even know if there is such thing as a Pelicans fan base anywhere outside of New Orleans but if there was one, they wouldn’t surface anywhere but at the Verizon center: the home of the “come see your favorite team play while they’re in town.”
Not yesterday, though. Yesterday, the Wizards owned that so-called Terrible Tuesday. I’m not going to lie, when 6:45 came around last night, the Verizon Center still looked like the fan section at a 76ers away game. I was sad. No longer disappointed, no longer worried, just flat out sad. Maybe it was the horrific DC traffic, or maybe it was the rain that slowed people down. Maybe it was any excuse we normally create for ourselves. But it was at one point a few minutes into the first quarter when I looked up and actually saw a legit crowd. And get this, they were cheering for the Wizards…in the first quarter!! The fans were giving out major “vibes” as the Snapchat King DJ Khaled would say and that’s exactly what the Wizards needed.
A great crowd won’t put up points for you, it won’t grab rebounds and dish out assists, but it can be one hell of a motivator. Motivating enough to cheer Wall all the way to a triple-double (16 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists) and Marcin Gortat to a double-double (21 points, 12 rebounds). Motivating enough to spark Dudley to go 6-for-9 from 3-point land and even motivating enough to somehow get Kelly Oubre some playing time. The guys were soaking it up, and rightfully so. After all, it’s not every day the Wizards get to have home court advantage in the Verizon Center.
MAJOR KEY ALERT: Defense. Any team is going to be a little worried about matching up against a player who just set the NBA record for scoring this season. A player as versatile as Anthony Davis is already hard to guard but coming off a 59 point game where he went 24-34 from the field makes defense crucial. The Wizards were able to strap up Davis so effectively that he only scored 9 points on only 9 shots. Opponents average just over 100 against the Wizards but yesterday was not-so-terrible-Tuesday for the Wizards and so they held the Pelicans to just 89 points. This was the third opponent the Wizards have held under 90 points post-All-Star.
If you’re a Wizards fan you understand how terrifying and nerve-racking a 3rd quarter can be. Usually it doesn’t matter how much they’re leading by or what kind of momentum they have going into halftime, the 3rd quarter is also where they come out and defeat themselves. But during last night’s not-so-terrible-Tuesday the Wizards came out of halftime ready to go. They outscored the Pelicans 34-14 and the Pelicans were just weren’t able to soar again after that. The game ended with a 20 point win for the #WizKids, 109-89.
I think that was the first time in the 10 years I’ve been attending Wizards games that I felt unity in the Verizon Center. There was unity in the crowd, all cheering for their HOME TEAM from pretty much beginning to end, strange concept, I know. There was unity on the team with everyone playing their part and contributing to the 50% off Papa John’s pie we all get to enjoy today. Maybe John Wall’s interview saying (the crowd) “gets more excited for a chicken sandwich than a win” reached more people in the DMV than expected, but the Verizon Center was full of something we don’t see often. I’ll take it!