Opening Statements: Wizards vs Heat, Game 81
If much of the Wizards season has represented some form of Greek myth (Sisyphus, the Odyssey, maybe a touch of Jason and the Argonauts) then tonight’s game can be likened to Odyssus having to sail between the Scylla and the Charybdis. If the the Wizards mange to defeat the Heat and stay one game in the win column ahead of the dreaded Charlotte Bobcats, then they control their destiny and the right to play a Toronto Raptors team that has dismantled the Wizards on more than one occasion, or a Chicago Bulls team that is playing strongly to finish the season. Lose the game and fall back in line with the Bobcats, then the Wizards run the risk of having to play a Pacers team intent on proving that the sky is not falling, or a Miami team ready to shift gears and reap the benefit of playoff officiating. As it stands neither option appears palatable because the Wiz will either being sucked into an endless whirlpool or driven into the jaws of a hungry sea monster.
This is why the result of the game matters less tonight than how the Wizards play the presumptive favorites in the Eastern Conference. A hard-fought game where Randy Wittman can figure out which of his troops are ready for a playoff atmosphere (and whether he himself is ready) will go a long way towards prepping a team that has aspirations beyond the first round. Judging which players will start to crack when LeBron or Wade begin to rack up “superstar” calls will address just how hard the AARP Squad can be leaned on during the playoffs. Finally, this is the last change for the square pegs (Martell Webster, Kevin Seraphin) to adjust themselves to round holes unless they want to spend the entire playoffs watching from the pine. In sum, this is the first playoff game for the Wizards and as the saying goes: first impressions count the most.
—Sean Fagan (@McCarrick)
Teams: Wizards vs Heat
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Verizon Center, Washington, DC
Radio: WFED-AM 1500/THE FAN-FM 106.7
Spread: Wizards fav’d by 5.5 points
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VIDEO #1: Randy Wittman on…
The key of defense with all the prerequisite talking points:
VIDEO #2: Randy Wittman on…
The accomplishments of the Miami Heat and their ‘no ballot’ Hall-of-Famers:
VIDEO #3: Erik Spoelstra on…
The challenges that the Wizards present:
VIDEO #4: Randy Wittman on…
Expectations and the pressure to make the playoffs: