Work (n.) – something planned to happen, from the carnival tradition of “working the crowd.” Example: “Has this whole Wizards season been a work?”
Full disclosure. I did not watch the Washington Wizards supernatural destruction of the Detroit Pistons last night. I know it was a “must-win” game, even more so than the previous five “must-win” games, because this one was head-to-head against a team they’re chasing for the playoffs. So I was 100 percent certain the Wizards were going to lose.
I sat down on my recliner at 7:45 PM. I set up the CSN Live-Stream on my smaller, secondary screen, so I could keep a passive eye on the Wizards inevitably disappointing score. I kept my larger main screen reserved for the rest of the NBA games happening on League Pass, and for Monday Night Raw, because I’m still a wrestling smark.
I grabbed a throw, put the feet up, reclined as far back as possible, and I have no idea what happened next.
I woke up around 10:45 PM. The Wizards had won by 43 points. The squared circle was inhabited by Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon, and The Undertaker, and the crowd was chanting “Shane-O-Mac.” WHAT THE F^%$ IS GOING ON?!
Obviously, I assumed I was still sleeping. I mean, I know the Undertaker still pops up around Wrestlemania season, and I know Shane-O-Mac had shown up a few weeks back (talk about POP). But the Wizards winning a must-win game in convincing fashion? There was no way I could believe that shit.
I woke up in the morning and opened up the NBA Gametime App to see what the actual score of the Wizards game was…
Wizards 124, Pistons 81….
I confirmed the other scores: The Warriors won. The Thunder won. LeBron lost in Utah. Everything checked out.
The Wizards really won by 43….how the hell did that happen?
Here’s what I missed:
This game was over almost before it started. The Wizards jumped all over the Pistons, led, as always, by John Wall. Wall had 8 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists in the first quarter alone, leading the Wizards to a 21 point first quarter lead. They shot 54%, and held the pistons to 30% shooting. It was the kind of dominant lead that only the Washington Wizards could lose.
But not tonight. Nene made sure of that. After Wall handled the first quarter, Nene handled the rest. He scored 18 points on 8-9 shooting, and helped make sure the Pistons never made the push every experienced Wizards fan was expecting.
The Wizards even avoided their standard third quarter tension, as Bradley Beal scored 7 of his 12 points in the third, when the Wizards pushed their lead to 30 points.
Even Kelly Oubre scored!
For the game, the Wizards shot 57%. They shot 44% on 18 three point attempts. They had THIRTY-FOUR assists on 51 made baskets, one of the highest assist totals by any team in the league all season. They even shot 14-18 from the free throw line.
WWE. Washington Wizards Entertainment. They work us, night after night, for weeks and months at a time. Their story line progresses, predictably, like a middling jobber stuck in the mid-card. And then, just when we’re all about to tune out, they turn the script on us. They come out in a big match and perform like a headliner ready for the main event.
We all know they won’t get the big corporate push. We all know their story won’t go anywhere significant. We all know they won’t make it to the NBA’s Wrestlemania. We all know they won’t win any title of consequence.
Still….after games like last night, they keep us hoping: Maybe, just maybe, they will.
Such is the life of a Wizards fan.