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***OFFICIAL WIZARDS THREAD - WIZARDS TO FACE "WIZARDS, BUT WITH A GOOD GM" IN FIRST ROUND ***


TobiasFunke

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On 1/24/2017 at 0:12 PM, TobiasFunke said:

This whole "wearing black" thing tonight feels like it's destined to end in disaster, or at least embarrassment.  Plus last night was the bigger game, a road win against a team they're likely battling for playoff positioning. It was maybe their biggest win of the year.

I know they hate the Cs, but they're not catching them in the standings. I just don't get it.

Why not, #######?  Seems like they can't stop blowing teams out, and now they're only two games back of the Cs (and the 2 seed) with three very winnable home games on the schedule this week.

Wish this dooshbag would stop being such a pessimist and just enjoy the ride.

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I will gladly admit I was wrong about this team.I did not see this coming at all but I am enjoying the hell out of it.Playing the best of any team in the East since that terrible 2-8 start and doing so with still very little bench help.How much toll does this bring to our starters is the worry but Brooks really has no other options,ride it till it falls apart.

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Up to #4 in ESPN's latest power rankings.  Respectability may be temporarily achieved.

...Years of watching the Caps and Nats fall short in the playoffs should restrain me from getting too ahead of things, but I'm starting to think they have a real chance to win the East.  Cavs are looking vulnerable with Love's back issues.

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15 minutes ago, Don Quixote said:

Really excited to watch the game tonight.  Hope the phone booth is rocking.  Maybe a Wizards win can generate a bit more local excitement, which still seems a bit lacking to me.

Certainly is the biggest game of year for the Zards and will tell us if they are contenders or just pretenders.The Caps and Zards both haven't lost at home since the start of the calendar year with the Zards going almost back to the start of December.Best run of home play of both teams combined I can ever remember so let's hope they keep the ball rolling tonight and put on a good show.I did hear Wall complaining again about the Lakers fans invading the booth so I fully expect the Lebron cheerleaders to show up in force tonight as well but it's not like Wall needs any motivation to play hard because he gives it all he has night in and night out.

As far as the town lacking buzz it's the same with hockey,until they do something when it counts they will always be left behind the Skins by quite a good distance.If I hear the local radio guys lecture me on why they talk Skins 90% of the time I will throw up.One station even has the tag line of talking the most Skins in the area so they really have no choice but to talk about them all the time and beat every topic into the ground over and over.Maybe a blowout win over the Cavs will change the tune for a day or so but it won't last long.

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18 minutes ago, tom22406 said:

Certainly is the biggest game of year for the Zards and will tell us if they are contenders or just pretenders.The Caps and Zards both haven't lost at home since the start of the calendar year with the Zards going almost back to the start of December.Best run of home play of both teams combined I can ever remember so let's hope they keep the ball rolling tonight and put on a good show.I did hear Wall complaining again about the Lakers fans invading the booth so I fully expect the Lebron cheerleaders to show up in force tonight as well but it's not like Wall needs any motivation to play hard because he gives it all he has night in and night out.

As far as the town lacking buzz it's the same with hockey,until they do something when it counts they will always be left behind the Skins by quite a good distance.If I hear the local radio guys lecture me on why they talk Skins 90% of the time I will throw up.One station even has the tag line of talking the most Skins in the area so they really have no choice but to talk about them all the time and beat every topic into the ground over and over.Maybe a blowout win over the Cavs will change the tune for a day or so but it won't last long.

Yeah, the Lakers fan started making some noise when they went on their mini-run the other night.  I'm imagining there will be a lot of LeBron fans there as always.  I was just looking up tickets and they are pretty reasonably priced for tonight, more so than LeBron/Cavs games I've looked at in the past.  (I'm not sure if I have enough goodwill to spare with the spouse though.)

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On 1/31/2017 at 7:13 AM, Don Quixote said:

Up to #4 in ESPN's latest power rankings.  Respectability may be temporarily achieved.

...Years of watching the Caps and Nats fall short in the playoffs should restrain me from getting too ahead of things, but I'm starting to think they have a real chance to win the East.  Cavs are looking vulnerable with Love's back issues.

Unless LBJ has a season ending injury, there's no way they can win the east. Getting back to the second round of the playoffs though?  I think that would have to be considered a pretty successful season. 

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14 hours ago, thecatch said:

Unless LBJ has a season ending injury, there's no way they can win the east. Getting back to the second round of the playoffs though?  I think that would have to be considered a pretty successful season. 

I posted that when Love was sidelined and limited, but he looked fine last night.  He's such a mismatch, and the Wizards couldn't find anyone to guard him effectively.  I'm kind of hoping the Cavs trade Love for Melo.

The Wizards held their own though, and I think a series with the Cavs would be competitive.  I wouldn't bet money on them winning, but, like I said, I think there's a real chance of winning the East.  I'd probably peg it at around 15-20%.

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They had a great showing in what was one of the more entertaining games you will see this year from any 2 teams.Zards showed they belong and while I won't go as far to say the can win the East I will say they can go far and challenge for a ECF spot no matter who they play.Health is the main concern and the lack on any bench help was really glaring last night.Trey Burke has to be replaced IMO,they simply can't count on him for any production and adding another depth guy is a must as well.Hopefully someone who can come in and score at the 2 would be nice.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Any trade rumors floating around at who they possibly could be bringing in to help the bench?

Really hard to believe how great they have turned this season around given how bad they looked early on but all I can say is enjoy the ride and hope Ernie somehow can bring some help in to shore up the bench but that is possibly the best thing he has going for him in his ability to find a decent trade on the market.Watching the OKWestbrooks miss shot after shot the other night was so great to see it almost had me think I was dreaming and needed to wake up.Saw a stat on how bad the Zards starters outscored the Westbrooks it was almost laughable at how big of a difference it was but given how well the starters have played these last few months it's really not a stretch to see them dominate in that fashion.Enjoy the ride for now,let's see how they look at seasons end and into the playoffs since that seems like almost a lock at this point.

 

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1 hour ago, tom22406 said:

Any trade rumors floating around at who they possibly could be bringing in to help the bench?

Really hard to believe how great they have turned this season around given how bad they looked early on but all I can say is enjoy the ride and hope Ernie somehow can bring some help in to shore up the bench but that is possibly the best thing he has going for him in his ability to find a decent trade on the market.Watching the OKWestbrooks miss shot after shot the other night was so great to see it almost had me think I was dreaming and needed to wake up.Saw a stat on how bad the Zards starters outscored the Westbrooks it was almost laughable at how big of a difference it was but given how well the starters have played these last few months it's really not a stretch to see them dominate in that fashion.Enjoy the ride for now,let's see how they look at seasons end and into the playoffs since that seems like almost a lock at this point.

 

I haven't seen any official trade rumors out there.  Lou Williams is one of the popular names being discussed by fans. I've been listening to Ben Standing's "Locked on Wizards" podcast.  He just posted a trade episode, which has Lou Williams mentioned in the description, but I haven't listened to that one yet.  He talked about a couple of other trade possibilities a week or so ago too (mentioned Brandon Jennings and Joakim Noah, but those seem questionable fits to me).

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41 minutes ago, Don Quixote said:

I haven't seen any official trade rumors out there.  Lou Williams is one of the popular names being discussed by fans. I've been listening to Ben Standing's "Locked on Wizards" podcast.  He just posted a trade episode, which has Lou Williams mentioned in the description, but I haven't listened to that one yet.  He talked about a couple of other trade possibilities a week or so ago too (mentioned Brandon Jennings and Joakim Noah, but those seem questionable fits to me).

Will Barton is another.  He's on a cheap deal that takes him through next season, though, so it definitely would cost them a first round pick.  And they need to start thinking about finding some big man depth in the draft soon- Gortat is great and has surprisingly few miles on him for his age but you still have to assume he's gonna slow down fairly soon. If the plan is to keep Wall, Beal and Porter together all at max money for the foreseeable future you're gonna have to draft big guys.

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I would imagine Williams would have a pretty decent demand for his services at the deadline so the question is how much do you give up to bring him here in what pretty clearly would be an upgrade on the bench?

If they deal away Oubre I may go strangle Ernie myself but they dont really have a ton of options at this point given the lack of anything of value after him.

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23 hours ago, tom22406 said:

I would imagine Williams would have a pretty decent demand for his services at the deadline so the question is how much do you give up to bring him here in what pretty clearly would be an upgrade on the bench?

If they deal away Oubre I may go strangle Ernie myself but they dont really have a ton of options at this point given the lack of anything of value after him.

They have their 2017 and 2018 first rounders.  One of those should be enough to get a bench scorer without dealing Oubre, I hope. 

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I have to say after watching last nights game(and for the last 2 months)they are a very legit threat in the East as long as the starters stay healthy.Watching the first 10 games of the season compared to the last 40 or so has been like night and day it really is almost shocking to believe they could turn what looked to be a pathetic group of complainers into a top 5 team in the league.Tip of the hat to Brooks for putting together an offensive system that they all are buying into and while the defense isn't the greatest it certainly has improved to the point of being at least above average with some nights outstanding.

I also take it all back about what I said about Morris shooting those 3's.He suddenly has turned himself into a legit threat from deep and now gives them another option that they sorely needed past Beal and Porter.Speaking of Porter,all I can say is wow.He now has transformed himself into a Kyle Korver sniper and I never saw this coming given his past history.Pay the man!

Caps on a great roll,Zards playing the best I can remember for quite some time= enjoy this while we have it D.C. sports fans.We may or may not win titles but at the very least we get to watch 2 very good to elite teams play each night and that is something we haven't said like ever.

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I like the deal they made for Bogdanovic and hope they have another in the works to replace Burke which should really help to improve the bench tremendously.Tough giving up a 1st but unless they were giving up Oubre or Porter they didn't really have many other options so I'm fine with it so now let's hope they can find one more piece before the deadline.So far so good:thumbup:

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I didn't know if was possible to have an ugly win over the Warriors, but that's exactly what happened. Big one coming off the two post-ASB losses, though. 

Huge home-and-home with the Lowry-less Raptors coming up.  A split seems likely, but if either team manages a sweep they'll be well positioned for the 3 seed and avoiding the Cavs until the Finals.

Love the Jennings pickup.  Bench suddenly looks a lot better with him and Bojan.  Mahinmi finally looked like a competent backup center last night, too.

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Kieff: "My wife tells me all the time I've got big nuts. I put my nuts on the line tonight."

Bench is certainly looking a lot better.  Bojan provides some needed flexibility with the rotation.

I'm not really that high on Jennings, but I guess he's still an upgrade over Burke, which is all that really matters now.

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10 minutes ago, Don Quixote said:

Kieff: "My wife tells me all the time I've got big nuts. I put my nuts on the line tonight."

Bench is certainly looking a lot better.  Bojan provides some needed flexibility with the rotation.

I'm not really that high on Jennings, but I guess he's still an upgrade over Burke, which is all that really matters now.

Yup. Jennings isn't really good, but he's better than what we've got now and he fills a glaring hole.\

Kieff may have turned the corner, genuinely seems to be having fun on this team.  Even when he got two Ts and got ejected he seemed to be pretty chill. I was at that game, in seats between the Wiz bench and the tunnel to the locker room, and Kieff stopped for like three minutes on the way back out to take selfies with kids and sign autographs and whatnot. Pretty surprising considering the guy's rep.

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Switched over for the last half of the game after the Caps had the Rags on lockdown and while it wasn't anything of beauty from either team(I'm being very generous)it was still one of those wins this team of the past would rarely if ever get.They almost begged the Dubs to take it with some really horrendous defending but somehow still managed a win despite the shortcomings in many areas.

Is it just me or does Wall only play one side of the court now?Night after night he is getting abused on the defensive end by guys of all talents and it really has me wondering if maybe he is just conserving for the offensive end or could it be injury and he is doing what he can?

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Really nice to see someone from the bench step in and make a difference,that has been pretty rare this season and certainly makes the trade look even better if Bo can stay hot during this stretch run and into the playoffs.He had like 16 points in a little over 6 minutes during one stretch and actually brought a huge grin to my face as he was lighting the Raps up.Solid defensive effort as well,very nice road win:thumbup:

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On 3/1/2017 at 10:21 AM, tom22406 said:

Switched over for the last half of the game after the Caps had the Rags on lockdown and while it wasn't anything of beauty from either team(I'm being very generous)it was still one of those wins this team of the past would rarely if ever get.They almost begged the Dubs to take it with some really horrendous defending but somehow still managed a win despite the shortcomings in many areas.

Is it just me or does Wall only play one side of the court now?Night after night he is getting abused on the defensive end by guys of all talents and it really has me wondering if maybe he is just conserving for the offensive end or could it be injury and he is doing what he can?

First half of the game was the beautiful part.  Second half was cruise control once they stretched out the lead in the first few minutes. 

That might also be why Wall looked less engaged on the defensive end, although I've heard other people observe that he's gone from "very good" to just "decent" on that end this season.  He looked pretty engage blocking the crap out of Ibaka, though.

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2 minutes ago, TobiasFunke said:

First half of the game was the beautiful part.  Second half was cruise control once they stretched out the lead in the first few minutes. 

That might also be why Wall looked less engaged on the defensive end, although I've heard other people observe that he's gone from "very good" to just "decent" on that end this season.  He looked pretty engage blocking the crap out of Ibaka, though.

I would say Wall is a great scramble defender but when he is locked down on someone he just looks very average at best and gets blown by quite often.Will say last night though he did look more engaged and I remember back to an early part in the season when Brooks called Wall out as the worst defender on the team so clearly something is going on here but with how he is playing on the other end it really does feel like I'm nitpicking his game.Life as a D.C. sports fan tends to do that to you:D

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Bogie was huge last night draining bomb after bomb in a game they really looked to have no interest in winning till late.A bit troubling a few of the starters are struggling now but given the opponent they were able to shoot themselves back into the game.Pretty huge win as well given the results that went down yesterday and with the road trip looming it was much needed no matter how ugly it was.

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4 hours ago, tom22406 said:

Bogie was huge last night draining bomb after bomb in a game they really looked to have no interest in winning till late.A bit troubling a few of the starters are struggling now but given the opponent they were able to shoot themselves back into the game.Pretty huge win as well given the results that went down yesterday and with the road trip looming it was much needed no matter how ugly it was.

I was close to turning the game off after the third quarter.  Glad I stuck with it.

Bojan has been pretty incredible.  He seems to be thriving now that he's got a real PG and some shooters around him to take some attention away and give him some open looks.  Him at the 4 with Kieff at the 5 seems like the stretch look that the Wizards have been trying and failing to find for the past several years.

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Great Wizards content from Katie Baker at The Ringer.

Wiz could catch a break tonight with Jokic possibly out for the Nugs.  Would be great to steal a win. They need to go 12-8 to close the season in order to win 50 for the first time since the 1970s, and when I went through the schedule I had them at exactly 50, counting tonight as a surefire L (second of a back to back at altitude is deadly). 

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Pretty amazing West Coast trip so far with those last 2 wins.I will fully admit I checked out at half during the Blazers game being down 21 but caught the highlights and then the DAGGER from Morris(who was pretty clearly out of bounds).Can't ever remember a better offensive team from the Zards/Bullets in my time following them and even though the defense has you screaming at the tv with how bad it can be at times the offense does seem to have the ability to get them out of any hole they dig themselves into.Makes you really look back at Wittman and see he really was in over his head with how Brooks has turned them into one of the best offensive units going from basically the same guys.

Now closing in on the Cavs for the 1 seed and count that as another of those things I never saw coming.

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32 minutes ago, tom22406 said:

Pretty amazing West Coast trip so far with those last 2 wins.I will fully admit I checked out at half during the Blazers game being down 21 but caught the highlights and then the DAGGER from Morris(who was pretty clearly out of bounds).Can't ever remember a better offensive team from the Zards/Bullets in my time following them and even though the defense has you screaming at the tv with how bad it can be at times the offense does seem to have the ability to get them out of any hole they dig themselves into.Makes you really look back at Wittman and see he really was in over his head with how Brooks has turned them into one of the best offensive units going from basically the same guys.

Now closing in on the Cavs for the 1 seed and count that as another of those things I never saw coming.

Both Friday and Saturday night I started to go to sleep when they were down big, checked my phone one last time, and then ended up staying up until the bitter end to enjoy the heroics. I could barely function on Sunday, because of the Wizards.  It's a brave new world.

That said, I would temper expectations for the 1 or even 2 seed. There's only 17 games left, and remember that after the next three they go:

@BOS

vs ATL

vs BKN

@CLE

@LAL

@LAC

@UTA

@GSW

And then a pretty soft landing for the last 5 games in April, although they have two against Miami who will be fighting for a playoff spot.

That's an eight game slate in which they'd be lucky to go 4-4 and more likely will go 3-5 or thereabouts. Meanwhile the Celtics' remaining schedule is amazingly soft, they'll be favored in every game from here on out. 

I think we keep the 3 after putting some space between us and the Raptors with this road trip, which is huge, but the 1 or 2 might be asking too much.

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53 minutes ago, TobiasFunke said:

Both Friday and Saturday night I started to go to sleep when they were down big, checked my phone one last time, and then ended up staying up until the bitter end to enjoy the heroics. I could barely function on Sunday, because of the Wizards.  It's a brave new world.

That said, I would temper expectations for the 1 or even 2 seed. There's only 17 games left, and remember that after the next three they go:

@BOS

vs ATL

vs BKN

@CLE

@LAL

@LAC

@UTA

@GSW

And then a pretty soft landing for the last 5 games in April, although they have two against Miami who will be fighting for a playoff spot.

That's an eight game slate in which they'd be lucky to go 4-4 and more likely will go 3-5 or thereabouts. Meanwhile the Celtics' remaining schedule is amazingly soft, they'll be favored in every game from here on out. 

I think we keep the 3 after putting some space between us and the Raptors with this road trip, which is huge, but the 1 or 2 might be asking too much.

So it could be the C's can grab the 1 seed given the way the Cavs have looked lately which we don't want either.I'm honestly just happy to finally see a winning team who looks to be a contender in the conference.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The play of late has been pretty bad but they are still holding on to the 3rd seed and now with Boston knocking on the Cavs door for 1st in the conference this brings into the equation of maybe letting the Raps take 3rd if the Cavs fall to the 2 seed if at all possible.I doubt Brooks would go for this given the recent run of play but it's something to keep an eye on for sure.Wall needs a rest and sitting Beal late also should be a priority given the minutes both play and the need to be at full speed once the playoffs do start no matter where they finish.

At least a top 4 is a lock at this point given the win last night but they clearly need to work on a few things.Gortat is the most troubling for me but hopefully he will turn it around.As of now they could face almost anyone from 5-8 with how tight the standings are,should be very interesting to see where this all shakes out but much like the Caps I'm ready for a playoff sweat and I fully expect both teams to get me in a lather.

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I had been avoiding *panic*, but I was starting to worry after the first half last night.  They really turned it on in the second half though.  The defense was the best that I have seen lately.  The turnovers led to a lot of easy points.  Hopefully they can keep that up against non-Shroder PGs.

Gortat is worrisome, and Otto hasn't really played the same since the ASB either.  I'd feel a lot better if both were able to get going again.

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The beat down in Cleveland over the weekend was a thing of beauty.Cavs made a few runs to try and get back in it but Wall and Beal would have none of it this time around.That was 1 road win on this trip I didn't expect to get unless the Cavs rested players.

Will be tough to get to 50 but without a doubt it will be fun to watch them go for it.

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6 hours ago, tom22406 said:

The beat down in Cleveland over the weekend was a thing of beauty.Cavs made a few runs to try and get back in it but Wall and Beal would have none of it this time around.That was 1 road win on this trip I didn't expect to get unless the Cavs rested players.

Will be tough to get to 50 but without a doubt it will be fun to watch them go for it.

The Cleveland win brought it back into play. If they win the game @LAL they have a decent shot at it. If they win that one and steal an upset @LAC, @UTA or @GSW (ha!) I think they'll get there for sure. Otherwise they have to go 4-1 over the final 5 to do it.  Last 5 are tough to call, depends how much they want to prioritize winning 50 vs getting some rest, where the Pistons and especially Heat are in the playoff race (two of last three vs MIA), etc.

But before they get there they have another milestone- they should lock up the Southeast division very soon.  Division titles don't matter to any of the other 29 teams in the league, but the Wiz haven't won a division title since 1979, so it'll be a nice box to check off.

 

 

ETA:  As soon as I posted this I saw a tweet informing me that the Wizards have the longest drought without a division title in the four major American professional sports. 8 years longer than the Edmonton Oilers, 10 year longer the Cleveland Browns and 13 year longer than the Pittsburgh Pirates.  They'll clinch with their next win or the next Hawks loss.

Edited by TobiasFunke
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Had the Zards -9 and went to bed when they were down 90-75.I should have learned my lesson to stick around earlier in the season but that was a nice surprise to hear when I woke up this morning.Lakers may not have missed a shot the entire 3rd quarter so frustration played a role in leaving the game early as well.

First division crown and they did it the only way they know how,very fitting:thumbup:

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1 hour ago, tom22406 said:

@Knicks,vs Heat,@Pistons and @Heat to finish off the season and needing 3 wins to hit 50.Still plenty of questions as to where they land seeding wise as well.

Playoff sweat is about to begin:thumbup:

 

Should be an exciting finish.  Much needed comeback win last night.

Although I had another "when will DC start to care more about the Wizards moment" last night -- I was at Elephant & Castle on Penn a few blocks from Verizon and asked the waiter if they could put the Wizards game on one of the TVs.  As they struggled to find it and were about to give up, I was asked what city the Wizards were from because they don't get a lot of out-of-market sporting events.  (Thankfully, they eventually found it.)

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Should be a good series and test for the Zards,especially with Mahinmi out for a few games or more.Avoided the Cavs until the CF's and almost hit 50 wins so after a disaster of a start it really was a  great season for them and it now looks as though the path to getting to where they want to be is a bit easier if they show up.

 

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1 hour ago, tom22406 said:

A great playoff win and not 1 comment?

Go Zards!

That third quarter was magical.  There's nothing like seeing your team go on a run in an NBA playoff game. 

Obviously we all expect it to go south for some horrifying reason because of the name on the front of the jersey, but I have to admit things are setting up pretty well for them to make a deep run right now.

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I have to admit the Zards game was on the secondary tv as I was watching the Caps game for the most part I still came away thinking a few things.The refs were horrible and really made the game almost unwatchable for long periods of time,at least until the 4th when the Zards turned it up.Defense has been much better,Wall is a freaking stud,Gortat has really shown up and outplayed Howard and we got another DAGGER out of Buck last night.Overall a great night for D.C. sports even though for me the Nats don't even register on my radar until September and even then I usually skip them.

Got to think the Hawks get at least 1 home win but to me the Zards look to clearly be the better team so I'm pretty confident they can finish them off and it looks as though the Bulls could very well be next up.

Fun times in the DMV so far!

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43 minutes ago, tom22406 said:

I have to admit the Zards game was on the secondary tv as I was watching the Caps game for the most part I still came away thinking a few things.The refs were horrible and really made the game almost unwatchable for long periods of time,at least until the 4th when the Zards turned it up.Defense has been much better,Wall is a freaking stud,Gortat has really shown up and outplayed Howard and we got another DAGGER out of Buck last night.Overall a great night for D.C. sports even though for me the Nats don't even register on my radar until September and even then I usually skip them.

Got to think the Hawks get at least 1 home win but to me the Zards look to clearly be the better team so I'm pretty confident they can finish them off and it looks as though the Bulls could very well be next up.

Fun times in the DMV so far!

I had the Wizards game on my TV and Caps on my tablet, but ended up watching mostly the Caps too (I tried streaming the Nats too, but discovered that Nats aren't available for streaming, which is kind of absurd).

Refs were pretty bad -- phantom call on Gortat was CB Bucknor worthy.  Hard to complain about 2-0 (or 0-0, depending on who you ask), but it would be nice to see Otto and Bojan get it going.  They are not needed as long as Wall and Beal are playing like they did last night, but I think Chicago will be a tougher matchup for them.

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On 4/18/2017 at 11:49 AM, tom22406 said:

A great playoff win and not 1 comment?

Does this surprise you as a long time fan?

Wiz are looking great. Thought ATL might give them more trouble than many people expected but I'd be a little surprised now if the Wiz didn't win in 4-5 games. 

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1 hour ago, thecatch said:

Does this surprise you as a long time fan?

Wiz are looking great. Thought ATL might give them more trouble than many people expected but I'd be a little surprised now if the Wiz didn't win in 4-5 games. 

It did surprise me a bit here since we have some active posters who follow the team but we all get busy so no worries.Been a very long time since anybody should be this excited about the Zards in a playoff run and with how things are shaping up they have a great shot at the ECF's now but as well all know nothing comes easy in the DMV with sports teams so I have little to no doubt I'm in for some heavy drinking with the Zards and Caps.

Really glad to see the rest of the country finally getting to see what Wall is all about and getting his due in the process,he really has earned it and even with Beal struggling he also has turned that corner into being a clutch guy they can count on.

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