As I dozed off to what seemed like the fifth re-run of SportsCenter late last night, the regurgitated segments of the Wizards upset win over the mighty Miami Heat, along with RG3’s Monday Night Football highlights in subsequent order became embedded in my brain so much that I woke up this morning wondering why the hell a Dolphins snapback was sitting on my dresser. While showering, I suffered through the re-looping voice of Linda Cohn in my head saying: “Nene passes it to a wide open Jordan Crawford!”
For the Washington Redskins, well, they haven’t been this nationally press-heavy in about a decade and a half; back when Brad Johnson was slinging balls to Albert Connell, and Stephen Davis was getting his face pushed in by Michael Westbrook. Only now, the national praise of the Redskins is gradually morphing just about anyone and everyone into a fan, thanks solely to their 22 year old manimal of a quarterback. Phenom? More like phenomenon.
For a DC sports fan, the Miami Heat couldn’t have chosen a better time to flame out. Only 11 miles from where his Monday night heroism occurred the night before, RG3 sat himself courtside at the Phone Booth for his first Wizards game, and witnessed his new city’s one-win basketball team shock the universe with a 105-101 upset over the NBA champs.
As one would expect, the Heat loss (not the Wizards win) made for the top headline on late night ESPN and just the image of the Wizards logo displayed behind Linda Cohn was surreal for me; one of those freeze whatever you’re doing and frantically push the ‘volume up’ button with every bit of thumb energy moments.
An average outsider is relatively uninformed about the limited strengths of the Wizards. Although ESPN pointed fingers at Miami’s suspect defense (which it certainly was at times), here in DC we are all well aware of underlying factors that make the Wizards moderately watchable; intangibles like the disruption Nene causes for opposing defenses and the opportunities he creates for guys who are less game-planned for. Guys like Jordan Crawford, who lead the team with 22 points and six dishes.
The Wizards ultimately overcame the wrath of Miami’s Big 3, much similar to the resilience of the Nerdlucks when they stunned the Monstars in "Space Jam", only no Bill Murray. Despite elite performances by LeBron, Bosh and Wade, the Wizards remained toe to toe with the Heat thanks to their aggression, clutch free throws down the stretch, and matching their best night shooting from the field, percentage-wise (48.1% vs. Dallas). Not to mention a lot of bricked 3-pointers by Miami, including two late LeBricks in the final minute.
The Wizards were also highly touted on SportsCenter for their recent “dominance” of the Heat, a term coined by ESPN after what is now a three-game win streak against the defending champs. Yes, I know I’m reaching for relevance and that ultimately all of this is trivial and unimportant, but a win like last night’s offers one a taste of what it’s like to be in a basketball discussion on a national level, even if it is derived from a mind-blasting, world stopping, unlikely to happen again victory.
I guess what I’m trying to make of all this is that I could definitely get used to more Martell Webster post-game excerpts on national television.
Will this mark the turn of the season for the Wiz Kids? Perhaps to an extent. A second win in three games could, and should infuse some confidence and motivation into a team that’s constantly been on the tail end of close games all season long.
Hopefully we’ll notice that boost on Friday down in the Dirty Dirty against the Hawks.