Opening Statements 08: Wizards vs Cavaliers | Wizards Blog Truth About

Opening Statements 08: Wizards vs Cavaliers

Updated: November 11, 2016

Washington Wizards vs Cleveland Cavaliers - Game 1 - 2012-13 - Oct. 30, 2012 - Truth About

While this week has been one of the most difficult weeks in the tumultuous history of this great country, at least the simple joys of live sports will continue to be a great release for many Americans. I was hurt on Wednesday morning by the election results, but by the time the Wizards had put a beat down on the Boston Celtics later that night I was already putting my feelings of anger and despair behind me. I will never forget how I felt both on election night 2016 and watching President-elect Trump’s acceptance speech. I will never quite be able to to get over some of the racist and misogynistic ideology that he used to propel himself to be the leader of the free world.

No surprise, there are NBA players who have the same natural level of disdain for where we seem to be heading as a country.

The Cleveland Cavaliers made their visit to the White House on Thursday, just minutes after President Obama’s sit down with Trump. The Cavaliers will certainly not be the last team to visit the White House, as teams that win championships will surely be extended the invitation to meet the president and those same teams will very likely accept those invitations out of respect for the office. The only guarantee is that there will be individual players who decline their invitations to meet President Trump. The precedent has already been set for players of opposing political parties (and ideologies) skipping out on the event—just ask Donald Trump’s good friend Tom Brady who declined to meet Obama during the Patriots’ White House visit due to a “prior engagement.”

The sentiment I have regarding Trump’s views and affiliations is shared by many (but not all) black Americans in this country. The future doesn’t look all that bright today, but as Lebron James eloquently put it at this morning’s shootaround, it is not–and has never been—about one guy:

“I mean, he’s our president. And no matter if you agree with it or disagree with it, he’s the guy and we all have to figure out a way that we can make America as great as it can be. We all have to do our part. Our nation has never been built on one guy, anyway. It’s been built on multiple guys, multiple people in power, multiple people having a dream and making it become a reality by giving back to the community, giving back to the youth, doing so many great things.

“So obviously we always had a guy that has the No. 1 position of power, and that’s the president of the United States, but it’s never been built on one guy. So we all have to figure out a way that we can better our country because we all know that and we all feel it. This is the best country in the world, so we all have to do our part. It’s not about him at all. Especially not for me and what I do.”

Word is that there might be a basketball game
happening at the Verizon Center tonight. James and friends are supposed to be there. So, let’s talk about that: sports!

The Cavaliers are coming off of their first loss of the season to the Atlanta Hawks on election night, so they will be mentally prepared to get back on track to their championship-level play.

The Wizards, on the other hand, had their signature win of this season in defeating the Celtics 118-93. Washington able to pounce on Boston because of Otto Porter’s career night (34 points being his new career high and 14 rebounds matching his previous career high), as described by Kyle Weidie. Also, they were able to finally defend the 3-point line after coming into the game giving up an NBA leading 39.1 percent from behind the arc, as illustrated by TAI’s Adam McGinnis. If the Wizards are to have any chance of winning this game, they must again defend the 3-point line, this time against the Cavs who lead the NBA with a whopping 35.7 3-point attempts per game.

That job gets harder given the status of Bradley Beal, who is likely out for tonight’s game after injuring his hamstring in the third quarter versus Boston.

Another significant roster strategy challenge: John Wall currently plays just one of two games during back-to-back matchups. There is one train of thought that Wall should rest tonight against the defending champion Cavs and give the Wizards an opportunity to go up against the more beatable Bulls at full strength. But Scott Brooks may decide to give Wall the nod tonight in the hope of a second straight win, and if Wall plays, it would be very nice if he were able to keep his cool and not get kicked out of the game as he has done in his previous two contests.

It is very early in the season, but there are a few (very obvious) signs that Wall is simply tired of not receiving the respect he deserves from officials, opposing players, fans, and media. If Wall is not able to reel in his emotions at this critical juncture in his career, then he leaves himself susceptible into turning into the guy that Colin Cowherd thought he was describing all along. As the saying goes, “You can either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”

Hopefully, with LeBron James and his Klutch management contingent being in town this week, Wall will behave himself and channel his frustration in a more positive way going forward.


Troy Haliburton on Twitter
Troy Haliburton
Troy Haliburton is a native Washingtonian, and graduate of Gonzaga College High School and Morehouse College. Bylines on bylines on bylines.

Will write for food.