Tonight's game that featured a matchup between the non-bitter conference rivals Washington Wizards, (12-42) and Indiana Pacers (33-21) did not go in favor of the home team.
The Pacers walked out of Verizon Center with a 13 point victory, and to be quite frank, it wasn't even that close. From the mid-way point in the 3rd quarter till the final whistle of the game, Washington had no answer for anything Indiana was doing.
Roy Hibbert established himself as a presence early on, Danny Granger was LIGHTS OUT from the field, and Tyler Hansbrough reminded us all of what a crossbreed of Larry Bird and Rik Smits would look like.
Literally, NOTHING was going Washington's way. At one point in the 4th quarter when John Wall was basically mauled by the entire Pacers 2nd unit on a drive to the basket with no foul call, everyone had a sense that the game was over.
The difference in the game:
-Indiana shot almost 62 percent from the field, oppose to Washington's 47 percent.
-The Pacers pulled away in the 3rd quarter *gasp* and Washington couldn't find a way to claw back.
At one point, late in the first quarter/early second quarter, they were shooting over 80 percent from the field. I remember looking at the live stat chart and the bottom field goal percentage for Indiana was 16 of 18. It was like engraved in my brain. I even turned to my colleague Mike Andrews and repeated it to him. I haven't seen a team shoot that well and make it look so easy in the process in a long time.
Needless to say, Mike was as shocked as Billy Crystal was when he found out James Franco took his job.
Somewhere, Alec Baldwin, Chris Rock, Steve Martin, James Franco, Anne Hathaway and the 3 Six Mafia are laughing at the Academy for that one.
Ok, so now that the "official post game recap" is over with, let me offer you a different perspective on why tonight's game was a lot of fun for me to cover, not only as a fan, but as a growing member in the media circle.
Remember that 16/18 that was engraved in my brain? Well, early in the presser, Coach Randy Wittman touched on how well Indiana was shooting. In fact, it was pretty much a big topic early on in the press conference. I really wanted to ask him what he thought was contributing to it. I felt like the team was playing relatively good defense, but when you're undermanned and under-sized like the Wizards are, and you're going up against one of the deepest team in the NBA, you're going to face some mismatches.
"At one point, I think they were 18 of 22," Wittman recalled.
Being the idiot that I am and thinking out loud to myself, I mumbled out: "16 of 18."
I thought it was to myself and under my breath. One problem: I was sitting front row.
I look down at the box score and go about my business because I didn't think much of it. I genuinely thought no one heard me. Well, those microphones are a lot more sensitive than that I thought and when your team's 30 games under .500, being the butt of a Coach Wittman joke can sometimes be the highlight of the night.
"Is 18 of 22 not good enough? Whose press conference is this!?"
I tried explaining that I was talking to myself but it was too late…everyone was dying in laughter, including myself.
Was it embarrassing? A little. Was it fun knowing that my comment (or what I like to call, "lack of properly executing my thoughts) was the highlight of an NBA regular season post-game press conference? You bet ya! I loved it! I'm a big fan of Randy Wittman along with his humor, personality, and ability to have fun with the media. I guess I was just next in line to be the recipient of his sense of humor. Lucky for me, being embarrassed in front of a big crowd doesn't faze me one bit.
I guess I'm used to it by now. As my colleague Joe Glorioso said to me after the game, "Everyone has their minute." Honestly, It was the best minute of my short media career… All made possible by Wizards Extreme!
Check out the evidence below!