Wizards' Stars Don't Dim in Big City's Bright Lights | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Wizards’ Stars Don’t Dim in Big City’s Bright Lights

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Updated: December 4, 2018

Insider tip: If you want to experience a celebrity sighting in NYC, avoid the marquee matchups. Avoid the Lakers, Warriors and Celtics and instead circle your calendar around the dregs of the league and contact your local ticket reseller accordingly. Because if one thing is true it’s that New Yorkers love their bread and circuses. Even more so, they relish even odds of their beloved Knickerbockers winning a tilt. (The Wiz were 2-point faves on Monday night.)

Such is the case that you had such luminaries as Cam’ron, Pete Davidson, Darryl Strawberry, Bernard King (traitor), and Saquon Barkley on hand to watch the Knicks try to upend a Wizards team that has veered from completely dysfunctional to borderline competent over the course of the last two weeks—all narrated to the smooth tones of Clyde Frazier.

To their credit, the Wizards played the part of Generals to perfection during the first half of the game. The ball didn’t move, the Wizards steadfastly refused to defend the perimeter and Enes Kanter had his way on the interior with the Wizards “bigs.” Add in the spicy little moments that have thrown up red flags through the season (John Wall bitching at the refs, Beal leaning too hard on the hero ball, confusing rotations) and you could almost hear the New York crowd baying for blood in the background as Frazier intoned: “And the Wizards seem…um, content to keep things in the half-court. They don’t want to run.”

Everything was poised for the happiest outcome. The Garden was rocking, Tim Hardway Jr., was cooking from downtown and you could smell the roasting hashtags about Wizards #EffortTalk all the way from Herald Square.

Then the Wizards played the best damn quarter of basketball they have the entire season.

Let’s encapsulate it.

It wasn’t just Markieff Morris who was throwing it back all the way to 2016, every single member of the Wizards squad suddenly and unexpectedly had out of body experiences and started playing in such a way that Ted Leonsis could cut a highlight package and sell it to season ticket holders. There was Kelly Oubre picking pockets and yamming it in the face of Kevin Knox, there was Otto Porter (pulse included) raining hell from the arc, taking an elbow to the chops, shaking it off and getting back into the game. Tomas Satoransky sacrificed his body the entire quarter, flinging himself after loose balls and ragdolling himself at the legs of Knicks defenders.

And above it all were Wall and Beal, imperious, conducting the entire quarter perfectly. Wall’s jumper suddenly wet and his passing vision cured of myopia, with Beal cruelly dissecting the Knicks’ younglings from long range. The duo even threw in their patented (and overchoreographed) jump dap which they haven’t had a chance to break out since we elected the last President. All told, the Wizards erased the nine-point advantage that the Knicks held at the half and went on a 20-4 run which was only slightly spoiled by a taunting penalty called on Beal for hanging on the basket.

But it wouldn’t be drama without the possibility of heartbreak, and the Wizards did all they could to undue the success of the third quarter within the fourth. Scott Brooks, mad scientist that he is, decided the best way to fix the Wizards success was with a healthy dose of Austin Rivers, who almost single-handedly shot Washington out of the game. Oubre hoisted himself on his own petard, consumed by his own hubris and began taking the low percentage shots that have infuriated onlookers all season. Most depressingly, the Wizards were bullied on the boards (they lost the battle 55-38 on the night) as we can see from this key sequence where the Wizards haplessly watched the Knicks play volleyball for over 30 seconds.

And yet, despite every effort to be #SoWizards, the Wizards triumphed despite their myriad faults. One even got the first DAGGER of the season.

It’s your choice what you want to take from this game. You can either hope that the Wizards found their lightning in the bottle during the third quarter and can use that energy to scratch and claw their way back towards .500. Or you can look at the other three quarters and say that this was business as usual and even bad teams will fumble their way to a few wins over the course of a season.

I, for one, am just happy that New Yorkers headed to the subway disconsolate, without their pound of flesh.

Sean Fagan on FacebookSean Fagan on Twitter
Sean Fagan
Reporter / Writer/Gadfly at TAI
Based in Brooklyn, NY, Sean has contributed to TAI since the the dawn of Jan Vesely and has been on the Wizards beat since 2008. His work has been featured on ESPN, Yahoo and SI.com. He still believes that Mike Miller never got a fair shot.