The Bradley Beal/Wizards Game 1 Mural

The Wiz looked so good last night. The Wizznutzz are good forever.

Beal’s six-game playoff stat line, BTW: 20.7 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 4.7 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.7 BPG, .441 FG%, .829 FT% and .481 3P%. That’s just super-awesome, especially considering the Wiz are a balanced team and have gone 5-1, with four of those games happening on the road. He’s 20!

PS: John Wall blocking Paul George deserves a mural of its own.

The Wizards Are Playing May Basketball

While the rest of the league has been kind of FREAKING OUT, the Wiz have been on chill mode since dispatching Chicago last Tuesday. That’s a feat, considering the only other team to enjoy a long break is the three-peat Heat. More about those bastards in minute.

Here’s what the schedule looks like for Wiz-Pacers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals:

As is known, the Pacers are the No. 1 seed in the East. As is also known, they’ve been struggling for some time, to the point that the man Kevin Broom heavily favors the Wizards.

If you take their 67% chance vs. Indy along with their 27% chance vs. Miami to be true, the Wiz have a 18% chance of making it to the NBA Finals. Those are fancy stats talking.

If you look to Vegas, the odds are 10/1 they beat the Heat and 25/1 to win it all. That seems more in line with the general perception.

First things first, though: Beat Indy and make it further than I’ve seen them go. And I’ve watched this lost franchise for three decades, waiting for the magic to happen.

Wave the wand, Wizards.

Okay, The Nats Can Stop Getting Hurt Now

A list of injuries the Nats have suffered in this still-young season:

*Doug Fister, strained lat — Hasn’t pitched. Slated for a Single-A rehab start today.

*Wilson Ramos, broken hand — Played one game. Should be back around June 1.

*Ryan Zimmerman, broken thumb — Played 10 games. Should be back late May.

*Denard Span, concussion — Missed a week. Has an even worse than usual .293 OBP since.

That’s the No. 4 starter/big offseason acquisition, catcher/Opening Day cleanup hitter, third baseman/face of the franchise and centerfielder/leadoff hitter. Ouch.

And now this is happening:

Though the full extent of his left thumb injury remains unclear, the Nationals placed Bryce Harper on the 15-day disabled list with a thumb sprain after he visited a hand specialist and received an MRI on Saturday.

Oh, Bryce. He who missed 30-plus games last year may miss another 30 with this. Or not, but still. Hold me, Ray.

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The Nats have persevered so far, going 14-11. That’s a 90-win pace. If the season ended today, they’d be a Wild Card team.

With Fister out, the Tanner Roark-Taylor Jordan debate has been settled. With Ramos out, new guy Jose Labaton has established himself behind the plate. With Zim out, Anthony Rendon moved to third and Danny Espinosa reemerged at second. And with Span out, well, the team doesn’t lose that much, really.

Maybe, in the long run, all this struggle makes them stronger. Hard to see a silver lining in Harper going down, though.

He was replaced in the lineup yesterday by 31-year-old utility man Kevin Frandsen. Someone named Steven Souza Jr. replaces him on the roster.

One Way Of Quantifying The Wizards’ Newfound Popularity

This data comes from Mr. Irrelevant Tickets partner TiqIQ, and I don’t deny it:

This season, Wizards tickets had an average secondary market price of $65, second-cheapest in the NBA. The playoffs are a different story.

Over the last three days and two wins in Chicago, Wizards playoff tickets increased to an average of $306, fifth-most expensive of any team in the NBA Playoffs. It also gives the Wiz the highest playoff ticket price premium in the league. With their run-up in prices, the Wizards have a playoff premium of 348%, dwarfing the next highest (the Raptors at 269%).

You can buy Wiz-Bulls Game 3 tickets through us, and here’s a handy NBA Playoff tickets infographic. Just don’t look at the Vegas championship odds.

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Don’t Stop Bealieving

Bradley Beal, all of 20 years old, disrespected Chicago-style pizza during the day (“I can’t eat the fat pie”) and dropped 26 on the Bulls at night to propel the Wiz to a 2-0 series lead. Now they return to Washington, hoping to close it out Friday and Sunday.

What a turn of events, considering this is how the experts picked the series:

Now people are all like:

And making Photoshops like:

Of course, we all would have seen this coming if we’d just paid attention to regular-season head-to-head matchups, with point differential as the tiebreaker (via FTW):

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And because that’s all a bit ridiculous, I’ll close with this: Games 1 and 2 really could have gone either way, and Game 2 *really* could have gone either way. Can’t wait to see how the Wiz respond to being up, and the confidence that comes with that.

8 Reasons I’m Excited About The Wizards Being In The Playoffs!

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The Wizards are in the playoffs for the first time in the post-Gilbert Arenas era, and the predominant story line is that Wizards fans aren’t particularly excited. Except for me, that is; I’m extremely excited. Eight reasons why:

1. 44-38 = Championship

The Wizards went 44-38 this season. They also did that in 1978, when they won the NBA Finals. It’s math, really.

2. John Wall + Brad Beal

Neither is All-NBA or anything, but they could be. Someday. If they break the Curse of Les Boulez. For now, they’re a combined age of 43, and this is their first postseason action.

3. Nene, Man

He’s been playing about 20 minutes a game lately and should be good to go for the playoffs. Thank God.

4. National TV

This doesn’t have appeal for in-market folks, but I live in Wilmington, NC, where there has been exactly one — 1! — televised Wizards game this season. One! The Lakers had like 25. I’m not kidding. And League Pass is way too much money for regular season basketball. So this is a big deal for me personally.

5. National Attention

I was kinda bummed the Wizards don’t get the Raptors in Round 1, because it seems like they’d have more of a chance vs. Toronto than the Bulls. But at least this series will actually be on the national radar (via Chicago). Plus, no one wants to root against Toronto, unless the Blue Jays are involved, and Cito Gaston is managing.

6. No More Knuckleheads

No Andray Blatche. No JaVale McGee. No Nick Young. No Jordan Crawford. It’s so much more fun watching them when they’re playing for other teams.

7. They Have A Shot

I don’t expect the Wiz to get past the Bulls, but it’s not like Chicago is a title contender. Not without Derrick Rose, at least. Making it to the second round, probably against Indiana, isn’t all that far-fetched. And Indiana hasn’t been great either.

8. What Else Is There?

The Caps missed the playoffs for the first time since 2007. The Nats are injured and bumbling. The Redskins went 3-13. Terps basketball is the worst it’s been in decades. The Wiz are all we have right now. Embrace it!

Nats Save The Day From Going Full D.C. Sports

Please welcome back guest contributor Bryan Frantz to Mr. Irrelevant.

This was not a good day for D.C. sports. The Wizards lost to the Bobcats and put a serious damper on their chances of playing anybody but the Pacers or Heat in the playoffs, and the Capitals were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. It was almost a truly, one-for-the-ages miserable day when the Nationals got very close to losing a heartbreaker to the Marlins, but the local baseball team managed to put together something close to a miracle and salvage hope for the city’s sports teams.

The Nats game was eerily similar to the Wiz game. Both teams were playing at home. Both opponents have recently been somewhat of a laughingstock. Both games saw the home team face a large deficit early — Wiz were down 20 in the first half, Nats were down five after two innings. Both teams mounted an improbable comeback to take the lead. Both teams then watched that lead disappear.

After that, the two took opposite paths. The basketball game went to overtime, where the Wizards put up, somewhat incredibly, one point. Home team loses 94-88. The Caps were on the brink of being eliminated from the playoffs, a reality that was solidified a few minutes later when the Red Wings and Blue Jackets both earned points in their games.

Meanwhile, in the baseball game, Bryce Harper pulled himself out of his season-opening slump with a three-run monster of a home run that capped off a 10-pitch AB. Shortly thereafter, the Nats picked up a few more runs that put them in the lead, 6-5. But, because this is D.C., the home team had to make the game as difficult on itself as possible. Newly designated RP Ross Detwiler came on in the seventh to give up a leadoff solo shot to bring the game back to a tie, then Tyler Clippard gave up two walks and a double in the eighth to put the Nats behind again.

After the Wiz had just watched their impressive rally end in disappointment, the Nats seemed destined for a similar fate. But they’re the Nats. They certainly have had their share of “D.C. moments,” but they’ve had some success over recent years. (You could argue the Caps had more, but I would counter that the Nats have compiled more talent and have more promise, while the Caps just have Alex Ovechkin.)

And so Jayson Werth, as he’s done before, came up huge for the Nats. Down 7-6 in the bottom of the eighth, they had the bases loaded with one out and Werth at the plate. You know what’s coming. He crushed a fastball into the left field dugout of Nats Park to put the Nats ahead for good.

Werth, Harper, Anthony Rendon and the rest of the Natss managed to salvage what was almost a heartbreaking day for D.C. sports with a thrilling victory, against a division rival, no less. Once again, they’re providing Washington sports fans hope and entertainment for the months leading up to football season. Now, about football season …

Sports Illustrated Honors The Bullets/Wizards With 19 Classic Images

For the first time in the John Wall and post-Gilbert Arenas era, the Wizards made the playoffs! Nevermind they’re near-.500 record, the Wizards made the playoffs!

To mark the occasion, Sports Illustrated’s wonderful Twitter account @si_vault shared classic Wiz/Bullets pics all day long. Here they are, in all their red-white-and-blue splendor.

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DeSean Jackson Just Doesn’t ‘Get It’

Sporting News’ Ross Tucker wrote this HOT TAKE on DeSean Jacskon today. So let’s do what we do in these instances, and FJM this thing. Tucker’s words in bold, my responses in italics.

I don’t know anything about DeSean Jackson and his “ties” to gang members and frankly I don’t really care because in my mind, that isn’t really the issue anyway.

I don’t know anything about DeSean Jackson. But here is my 500 word opinion on DeSean Jackson.

His problem is one of decision-making and professionalism.

I can’t wait for you to enlighten us with the horrible decisions this extremely successful millionaire has made!

This isn’t one of those columns about how he needs to distance himself from some of the nefarious characters he grew up with or apparently still chooses to associate with. That can’t be easy and I know that I would have a tough time just completely shutting off any of the friends I grew up with. For all I care, Jackson can hang out with them all day every day.

Ross Tucker can totally empathize with DeSean Jackson’s upbringing.

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DeSean Jackson Is A Washington Redskin Now

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Well, that happened fast. The Redskins signed DeSean Jackson last night to what’s being reported as a three-year, $24 million deal, $16 million guaranteed.

Reasons why I like it:

*He is a very good player who is still just 27 years old.
*He gets to play and break off big plays vs. Philly twice/year.
*He gives the Skins their best receiving corps since the Posse.
*This is an exceedingly small contract for this caliber of player.*

Reasons why I do not:

*Philly must’ve gotten rid of him for a reason.
*This kind of signing reeks of Offseason Champs-iness.
*Dan Snyder is probably drowning in Crown Royal right now.

But what do you think?

*Two years ago, the Redskins gave Pierre Garcon five years and $20.5 million guaranteed, and the Eagles gave Jackson himself five years and $20 million guaranteed.

Mr. Irrelevant is a D.C. sports blog covering the Redskins, Nationals, Orioles, Wizards, Capitals, Terrapins and more.