Saturday night’s loss to the Miami Heat followed a script all too familiar to Wizards fans, and in a sense, begrudgingly emulated the now defunct tenure of Gilbert Arenas in Washington, D.C.
Against all odds, the Wizards competed with the Heat. It wasn’t a situation where Miami was just cold and Washington was making unbelievable shots like it just happened to be their night. No, the Wizards got by on their own merit — thanks to hustle, footwork and inspired play that’s been infrequent beyond acceptable means this season.
Agent Zero was created through an “against all odds” persona. Arenas’ flair and passion that once-upon-a-time injected energy into a re-inspired D.C. professional basketball team now faintly seems like decades ago. The Verizon Center hasn’t rocked like it did on Saturday in a long, long time, especially without Arenas.
But in the end, the Wizards caused their own downfall. They had the game all but in the bag after the returning Josh Howard hit a runner in the paint to put Washington up 91-86 with 32 seconds left … just don’t do anything stupid and make free-throws. Neither of those things happened and those commonplace jaws of defeat rose up out of the waters and snatched a prey that thought it had escaped victoriously.
Arenas’ reign in the District followed a similar course. Robbed by uncontrollable fate in the form of injury, and snatched from reason with guns in the locker room, the Washington Wizards franchise is once again left as the loser. The last glimpse of the happy times of yore snatched away by the uncertainty of rebuilding on the shoulders of a 20-year old with uncertain knees. Arenas may claim that he was docile during his last days in Washington because he was no longer the man, but that wasn’t really going to spark sympathy for the situation he had hand in creating.