Category Archives: Wizards

Let’s Talk About D.C. Sports’ 67-Season Streak Of Futility

Alright, let’s do the bad news first: The Presidents’ Trophy-winning Capitals lost in a second round Game 7 to the Penguins for the second straight season. It was a less-than-ideal outcome after fighting back from down three games to one.

But here’s the good news!: The loss helped extend D.C. sports’ futility to 67 consecutive seasons without one of the four major franchises reaching the conference or league finals. Thanks to Cal Ripken, we are programmed to believe all streaks are good.

The last time a team reached the final four of its respective sport was 1998, when the Capitals lost in the Stanley Cup Final to the Red Wings.

Since then it’s been a 19-year dumpster fire with playoff appearances by team breaking down thusly:

Redskins: 5
Wizards: 7
Nationals: 3 (only since 2005)
Capitals: 11

While the Wizards and Redskins have been far more futile than the Nats and Caps (they’ve had 11 and 10 losing seasons since ’98, respectively), an argument could be made the the D.C. hockey team has been the most heartbreaking.

The Capitals have made the postseason nine of the last 10 seasons, and they aren’t just backing into the playoffs. Every one of those nine seasons they finished in first or second place. They had 100+ points in six of those years. They’ve repeatedly been a dominating team that has flamed out in April and May.

But in hockey being a dominating regular season team doesn’t necessarily mean much. Since the Presidents’ Trophy started being awarded in 1985-86, only eight of the 31 winners have hoisted the Cup. That means the best team in the NHL has about a 25 percent chance of winning it all. By comparison, the NFL team with the best regular season record since 1986 has won the Super Bowl 13 times, or 42 percent of the time.

What can we learn from all this? Well, that Caps squad that was the last D.C. team to reach a conference final was a 4-seed. So, I dunno, maybe they should try being not as good in the regular season? Yeah, that’ll probably work.

Your Guide For Navigating A Huge Day In D.C. Sports

It is going to be a very big night in D.C. sports. There’s Caps-Penguins Game 7, Wiz-Celtics Game 5, and Nationals-Orioles for third screen viewing. In order to help you navigate all of this, here’s a handy guide for planning out the day.

The times are based on science, which shows that the average NHL game is 2:21 and the average NBA playoff game is 2:40.

— 3 PM. Leave work early, start drinking. You’ve put in almost a full day, and let’s be honest: Your anxiety over another D.C. sports disappointment has left you useless to your employer today anyhow.

— 4 PM. If you still have it on your DVR, re-watch the third period of Caps Game 6 and the second half of Wizards Game 4. It will fill you with positive thoughts. They can do this, you’ll stupidly think. They’re both gonna win tonight.

— 6 PM. You need to go ahead and eat something. You’ve been drinking for awhile, and once the Caps game starts, food will be the furthest thing from your mind.

— 7 PM. Turn on the Nationals-Orioles game for some pre-game distraction. Make sure you’re on MASN2 so you don’t have to hear FP and Carpenter. You’re in no mood for their bullshit tonight.

— 7:30 PM. Alright, time to flip to NBC Sports. Shit is about to get real. Pour four fingers of bourbon.

— 7:40 PM. The puck drops on Game 7. They can do this

— 8:16 PM. It’s the first intermission with the Caps up 6-0. Flip to TNT where the Wizards and Celtics have just tipped off.

— 8:33 PM. The Wiz are up big early, second period of hockey is about to start so get back to NBC Sports.

— 9:09 PM. It’s the second intermission with the Caps up 11-0. There are still about 13 minutes before halftime of the Wizards, so get back to TNT and see if Isaiah Thomas has found a D.C. fan in Boston to fight yet.

— 9:22 PM. It’s halftime of the Wizards game and they lead by 22. You have about four minutes until the third period of the Caps game starts. Use it wisely.

— 9:26 PM. The third period is underway. You’re drunk and happy.

— 10:02 PM. The final horn sounds. The Caps are onto the Conference Finals after winning 14-2. Or they lost a heartbreaker 4-3 in the final seconds. Could go either way, really. Change it back to TNT.

— 10:50 PM. The Wizards win and take a 3-2 series lead. Or they lost on a Thomas dagger. You never can tell.

— 11 PM. Go to bed, fall asleep watching the Nationals’ bullpen blow a 9th inning lead then lose in extra innings.

Isaiah Thomas Threatened A Wiz Fan. Then He Laid A Tiny Little Egg.

Got an ESPN alert on my phone this morning that the NBA is reviewing an incident between Celtics star Isaiah Thomas and a Wizards fan that happened during Game 3 in D.C. I was unaware of this incident, so I googled it and yep, there’s video:

Here’s a partial transcription, as best I can tell:

IT: “I’ll fuck you up, and you know that … Please make sure after [the game] you come right here and say it.”

Wiz fan: “YOU AIN’T ABOUT IT, BRO.”

It’s unclear exactly when this exchange occurred, but Thomas shot 3-for-8 from the field, scoring just 13 points as the Celtics lost by 27.

So thank you, random Wizards heckler. You’re the No. 2 D.C. sports fan this week, behind “Fire Dan Snyder” guy.

4 Thoughts On Wizards-Celtics Through 4 Games

1. The Wizards are the superior team. It might not matter.

Washington looks to be better, and it’s showing up on the scoreboard, where they’ve outscored Boston by 24. Can they win on the road, though?

Including Game 1 and 2, the Wiz are 0-4 at Boston this season and 0-3 the two seasons before that — seven straight L’s.

The last time they won there was the final game of 2013-14, as the Celts were wrapping up a 25-win season.

2. John Wall is ridiculous.

It’s not just that he’s averaging 29 points and 11 assists and raising his efficiency, etc., it’s that he’s a force of nature. Every game features a handful of plays you’ll see later on in your social feed — no-look passes, chase-down blocks, mean-mug celebrations, left-handed dunks … whatever it takes.

He’s not on LeBron’s level, because no one is, but he’s getting acclimated to whatever that next level down is.

3. The rest of the Wizards remembered how to shoot.

After the first four games of Wiz-Hawks, I noted that every player other than Wall was in a shooting slump. No more.

Every player other than Marcin Gortat has improved on his effective FG percentage since then, none moreso than Otto Porter.

Porter, who had a fantastic shooting season, is actually now shooting a little better in the playoffs than he did in the regular season.

4. Otto is making himself some money.

I was a little worried for Porter after the Atlanta series. He’s a restricted free agent this summer, and the words “max contract” were getting thrown around before he cratered in Round 1.

Now, against Boston, he’s shooting 61% from the field with 16.5 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game. Small sample, but it leaves a mark.

Bonus thought: I love that Kelly Oubre hauled off and did this.

The Wizards Forgot How To Shoot Straight

After the Wiz went up 2-0 on the Hawks, I got a full head of steam in the general direction of “THEY’RE GOING TO THE CONFERENCE FINALS FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE ’70s”

And now that they’ve dropped two in Atlanta, I’ve reversed it all the way back to “HOW THE HELL ARE THEY LOSING PLAYOFF GAMES TO JOSE CALDERON AND KENT BAZEMORE”

The truth is somewhere in the middle, alongside the fact that the Wizards forgot how to put the ball in the basket.

Aside from John Wall, who is having a bit of a moment, and Brandon Jennings, who only plays 15 minutes per game, every single player in Washington’s rotation is in a four-game shooting slump. As measured by effective field-goal percentage:

Bradley Beal — down from .566 to .478
Marcin Gortat — down from .579 to .552
Otto Porter — down from .608 to .483
Markieff Morris — down from .497 to .380
Bojan Bogdanovic — down from .553 to .379
Jason Smith — down from .585 to .500
Kelly Oubre — down from .482 to .409

I realize it’s generally harder to score in the playoffs, and Atlanta is a good defensive team, but most of those aren’t even close.

The series starts anew — best of three, now — tomorrow night back in D.C. Get buckets.

Bradley Beal Is Becoming So Much Like Ray Allen It’s Kinda Weird

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On a recent podcast with Zach Lowe, Bill Simmons got to talking about how Bradley Beal’s best NBA player comp is future HOFer Ray Allen. That should sound familiar to keen-eared NBA fans, including readers of this site, which wrote back in May 2012 that “Beal’s game is persistently compared to Allen’s.”

After reading about the Beal-Allen comparison yet again in Five Thirty Eight’s excellent look at Beal’s elevated level of play, I figure it’s time to check in. Through their first five seasons:

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Allen was more durable and shot better from the stripe. He also was a more active rebounder and assist-maker, but he turned it over more, too.

It’s worth noting, though, that Beal was a one-and-done at Florida, entering the league at 19. Allen was 21 as a rookie, with three seasons at UConn under his belt.

Hopefully Beal goes on to enjoy a similarly illustrious 18-year career, which saw Allen make 10 All-Star teams and win multiple NBA championships.

And hopefully Beal doesn’t bounce around to four different teams in the process. He’s doing fine in Washington, D.C.

Introducing The ‘KD To DC’ Shirt For Hopeful Wiz Fans

Most Wiz fans fall into one of three categories, all of them sad.

The first is children of the ’80s, myself included, reared on the duo of Jeff and Moses Malone. Those were not good teams, and they never won a playoff series. They’re probably most-remembered for having 7’7″ Manute Bol and 5’3″ Muggsy Bogues.

The second bucket is ’90s kids, who got to enjoy C-Webb and Juwan, for three years at least. They almost took a first-round game off of the Jordan Bulls. It was the only time they made the playoffs all decade.

Those raised on ’00s Wizards basketball were slightly more fortunate. They got Gilbert, who was great, especially during the Agent Zero thing. Then they spiraled into five seasons of 27-55 basketball.

But things are looking up! The Wiz lucked into Wall and Beal, and they’ve been two wins shy of the conference finals each of the past two years. To get over the hump, though, and be a true contender, they need another major piece.

That piece hits the market next summer, and he makes all the difference. Here to commemorate the occasion is a fresh design from our friends at Sneeki’s Tees.

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It may be a longshot, but fans should dare to dream about more than 45-win seasons and early playoff exits. Plus, this is just a really good looking shirt. Go get it for $25 in navy or royal blue.

Previously: Sneeki’s Washington “Football Team” T-Shirt

Your Big 2014-15 Wizards Recap: They Came, They Saw, They Were Okay

Here with your semi-regular look at the Wiz is Mr. Irrelevant contributing writer Bryan Frantz.

Context is a funny thing.

Context is what enables you to say the Wizards were better this season than last, despite that they were eliminated from the playoffs in the same game (Game 6) of the same round (Eastern Conference Semifinals) by the same seed (No.1) on the same day (May 15), and you wouldn’t be wrong.

After all, they won two more games in the regular season than they did a year ago. This year’s 46-36 record constituted the franchise’s best winning percentage since the 1978-79 season, and it was the ninth-best percentage in franchise history.

Then again, it was also only one more win than the 2004-05 Wiz squad that featured a typical starting lineup of Gilbert Arenas, Larry Hughes, Jared Jeffries, Antawn Jamison and Brendan Haywood. Kwame Brown was on that team.

And 46 wins would have been just enough to sneak them into the eighth spot in the Western Conference playoffs this season, where they would have faced the top overall seed Golden State Warriors. Yes, the same Warriors who came within a Kevin Seraphin baby hook of holding the Wizards without a field goal for an entire quarter late in the regular season.

Continue reading Your Big 2014-15 Wizards Recap: They Came, They Saw, They Were Okay

The Winningest Caps-Wiz Postseason Ever?

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The Wizards have won an NBA championship, believe it or not, and the Capitals have made it to the Stanley Cup Finals. But the Wiz and the Caps had never made it out of the first round of their respective playoffs in the same year until this very week.

That means the hometown NBA and NHL franchises have combined for eight playoff wins already in 2015. Eight! So much fun. And they must lose at least four more times each before the wins stop coming.

Odds are, even if the Wiz lose to the Hawks (or Nets) and the Caps lose to the Rangers, they’ll probably eek out at least four more wins. That would put them at 12 this spring, two shy of the all-time combined mark, set in ’78 when the Bullets went all the way (and the Caps finished last).

Most Combined Playoff Wins in Caps-Wiz Playoff History

1978 — 14 (all Bullets)
1998 — 12 (all Caps)
1988 — nine (seven Caps, two Wiz)
1979 — nine (all Bullets)
2015 — eight (four Wiz, four Caps)
1975 — eight (all Bullets)
2012 — seven (all Caps)
2009 — seven (all Caps)

(Image taken with love from the homies at RMNB.)

Are We To Believe The Wizards Are Good Again?

Here with your semi-regular look at the Wiz is Mr. Irrelevant contributing writer Bryan Frantz.

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Let’s recap the Wizards season so far.

They were really good up until the end of January, going 31-15 through January 27.

Then they were godawful and excruciating to watch not as good the next five weeks, falling to 35-28 in a brutal stretch that included losses to cellar-dwellers such as the 76ers and Timberwolves (back-to-back in fact, by a combined 28 points).

Now, they appear to have regained at least some of their early magic, winning four games in a row by an average of 18 points an sitting at a very respectable 39-28.

So the million dollar question: Are the Wizards good again?

Continue reading Are We To Believe The Wizards Are Good Again?