I realize there's been a disgraceful lack of blogging from me recently regarding the Wizards' on court play and for that I apologize. Instead, I've focused my attention in the last month or so on exhaustively documenting how awesome my All-Star Weekend experience was this year. There are two reasons for this: (1) All-Star Weekend WAS awesome and (2) the Wizards' on court play has been quite frankly as disgraceful over the past month or so as my lack of blogging about their on court play. A 10-18 run over the past two months with two at least five game losing streaks while I've been asked to pony up $800 more per person for my seats next year doesn't exactly fill me with enthusiasm about my team. Having said that, I remain as committed as ever.
As a side note, the Wizards likely should have had a third five plus game losing streak in the last two months. We needed a clutch end of regulation shot by John Wall and double overtime against Charlotte last Friday night to manage to salvage a 1-5 record between March 20 and 29. I've left a number of games early in my 15 years as a Wizards season ticket holder. Last Friday's game was the only one I've had to return to my seat after watching the end of regulation on one of the tiny TVs on the 100 level concourse. Call me cynical, damaged or whatever you want.
But the Wizards did get some good news last night: with the Boston Celtics' victory over the Charlotte Hornets last night, the team managed to make the playoffs for the second straight year. Now I realize when you win more than two thirds of your games through the first half of the season, you should have some sort of expectation that the postseason is securely in sight but we are talking about the Wizards here after all. Things are never that easy.
Although there are still eight games to go, it looks like the Wizards are going to slide into the five slot in the Eastern Conference and end up as a road opponent taking on the Toronto Raptors, a team that has slid down the ladder almost as much as the Wizards have since January 27. The Raptors have managed a record of 14-15 since the Wizards beat the Lakers in Los Angeles. Sure, there's a possibility we could outplay the Raps by two games the rest of the way, but honestly we are probably not cleaning up with our remaining schedule, not with five of the last six on the road. A couple of weeks ago coming off a five game winning streak it looked like we might be able to get the third seed, now not so much.
Last year the Wizards were playing well down the stretch, although they only managed to get to 44 wins, which admittedly is tied for second most by the franchise in 35 years. But the team last year was facing no expectations and making the playoffs alone was a meaningful goal. This year the team has obviously faltered, and what looked like a 50 win season is more likely to end up as another 44 win season. Maybe we'll get lucky and win a couple of more games. That would get the team their highest win total since 1979.
But in order for real success to be declared this season, the team has to realistically get back to the second round of the playoffs. The measuring stick this year is not the same as it was last year. The Wizards might just make it. For one they have a weaker opponent facing them than they might have had, although I remember all too well that Toronto has posted a 3-0 record against Washington this year. And as suspect as I think our roster is sometimes, when the team is playing well, they look like they can beat just about anyone. Well, a four seed in the Eastern Conference anyway.
This is not the same as last year. There are expectations based on last year's performance. Just being there is not enough. We'll see in a couple of weeks if our team is worthy.
|Championship this year? Maybe not. Not counting the Wizards out. Just being realistic.|