Wizards 118 – Celtics 92
April 2, 2014
Verizon Center, Washington, DC
We in there like swimwear!
Six years. Calculated as approximately 2200 days and some change. An ample amount of time to deem a generation. An epoch. For the Wizards particularly, an epoch of memories desired not to be memories. A scope of torturous turmoil and hardship only a hapless sap like Theon Greyjoy could fathom. A timeline of events relative to the mid-90s Redskins, who also endured six long seasons between postseason appearances when they transitioned from Richie Petibon to Norv Turner. Key word: John Friesz.
The analogies are vast. The comparisons are easy. The “since the last time the Wizards made the playoffs” list grows longer than a CVS receipt. For these moments of joy, none of that should be minded. For the purpose of reflection and/or irreverence, or to create a joyous feeling of accomplishment, do as you please.
The true timeline, however, marks a beginning date of 2010, when Ted Leonsis and company decided to dismantle rosters and reshuffle staff members on the premise of reconstructing from the ground up. This kind of commitment, especially after a line of winning seasons, does not come without privation and hardship for any franchise, and for Wizards fans there’s really no need to elaborate.
Last night was special on several accounts, for several individuals. It was special for John Wall, who for his entire short-lived career has been dealt the hassle of evading scrutiny and criticism. Who was appointed as the foundation of a reconstructing franchise, forced to coexist with a myriad of underachieving players as the Wizards brass continually tried to fit mismatching pieces to their seemingly never-ending puzzle of success.
For Randy Wittman, who has literally produced nothing but losing seasons as an NBA head coach but for the first time will reap the accomplishment of coaching his team to the postseason. Hate his habits, disagree with his decisions, mock his facial expressions, but for this moment, embrace his triumph. To impulsively take over a team in shambles and disarray after firing their head coach..no wait..to actually agree and commit to taking over a team in shambles and disarray like the Wizards is worthy of high praise alone.
For the aging guys like Andre Miller, Al Harrington, and Drew Gooden.. ousted from their former teams and considered worthless, only to now be considered saviors of a franchise that sorely lacked a veteran presence, and more importantly, sorely lacked a supporting unit. Our expectations of them were initially shallow, but their contributions to this uprising team thus far have run deep.
The Wizards have fulfilled their promise of returning to relevance and their commitment to be a contender in this league and last night’s decisive victory over the Celtics to clinch a playoff berth is certainly worthy of a celebration. So have at it Wizards fans. 2200 days is a long f*cking time and you’ve earned this.
Play of the night
One of many (check the Vine account), but the Wizards have prided themselves on ball movement all season long. This was a play that could have easily imploded by a forced shot, but..dat extra pass, man.
Marcin Gortat – 22 points, 10-13 FG
There’s no one realer in this locker room than Marcin Gortat. He’ll tell you like it is. He’ll either acknowledge fault, or sway it another direction by pointing a subliminal finger. Usually in the context of “I can’t speak for anyone else.” He’s indirectly direct. Bottom line is, he knows what needs to be done and doesn’t shy away from telling you.
I was kinda sorta concerned about how Gortat would match against Jared Sullinger. Sure, Sully is young and raw, but he’s got the strength of a bull and his post presence isn’t easy to counter. However, Gortat wasn’t concerned at all. He converted bucket after bucket from all areas in and around the paint, and was a PETA case the way he was murdering bunnies. He opened the game scoring 12 points in the first quarter, going 5-for-8. He would not miss any of his next five shots in the game and finished with 22 points.
A forgettable night for:
Chris Singleton (?) Nah, forget it.
I don’t really want to pester you all by pointing out Singleton’s 4-minute outing that produced nothing by two turnovers and a foul but I just did. In all honesty, a more relevant player like Drew Gooden would fit this bill better than Singleton but he was having too much fun on the sidelines egging his team on. The silver lining of Gooden’s bad game is that the Wizards once again proved that they can overcome shortage on production from players who usually offer production. Against the Pacers a few nights ago, the Wizards won by 13 despite a combined 8% field goal percentage from Ariza and Beal. Last night, the Wizards accumulated 36 bench points and Gooden only contributed two of them.
otto. Otto. OTTO. #Otto
It was only proper for the Wizards to incorporate Otto Porter in their playoff clinching victory last night. Around midway through the 4th quarter, the chants of “Otto Porter” blared through the arena and Wittman responded. I asked coach if the chants influenced his decision and he obviously denied. But watching DC’s favorite darling contribute and help close out the win was so endearing it could almost soften the heart of Ted Bundy.