Wiz Soar Gloriously Into the Playoffs, and Bosh Blogs
Yeah. The immediately striking thing last night was after the Wizards lost, when the PA guy announced that they were in the playoffs, and there was literally no reaction whatsoever from the crowd. Nothing. The poor PA guy tried again: "The Wizards have advanced to the playoffs!!!!" he said. Nothing. Silence. That, friends, is what having the very lifeblood vacuumed out of a basketball team with a dustbuster sounds like.
Also, as the game turned sour in the last 60 seconds, you should have seen Caron Butler. Maybe they showed this on TV, I don't know. He was actually recoiling in full-body horror at what was happening before him. He was standing on the chairs behind the bench in an attempt to spur his team on, waving his arms, attempting to emote veritable puffs of winningness that could settle on his healthier teammates. Didn't work. Then when things went real bad, he said something that cannot be put into this newspaper or its blogging subsidiaries. Just sad to watch. He's still saying he's 10-12 days from getting the cast off and seeing what happens.
Regardless, we've come to today's "Who Can Be Most Negative" contest, a game that can now be played with virtually any Washington sports franchise virtually every day. For now, I'll limit myself to Wizards commentary.
SLAMOnline: The Wizards have pulled off the most anti-climactic clinching of a playoff berth I can ever remember.... Not only did the Nets win the game, but they moved another step closer to taking the 6th seed from the Wizards. I believe the phrase adding insult to injury applies.... Hope that champagne was nice, Wizards.
[Aside: What do you think is the longest losing streak a team has ever taken into the playoffs? If somehow the Wiz lose out and take a 10-game shiner into their first-round series, you'd have to assume that would be a record, right? Of course, I believe they'll win out, but that's just me.]
WaPo: Instead of the pomp and circumstance that greeted their playoff appearance two years ago, the Wizards entered the postseason this time wheeled in on a gurney.
Wash Times: Asked whether he could have envisioned the Wizards' regular season winding down the way it was, [Antonio] Daniels said no. "But I also wouldn't think we'd be playing at this time of the year without Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler, but that's basketball," Daniels said. "You kind of take it as it comes. You move on, and you grow from that. As bad as that is, like they say, that which doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and we're getting better and stronger."
[Ok, that's not negative, that's just weird. They're getting better and stronger? In what way, exactly? Is losing to the Nets by four at home better than losing to the Nets in OT on the road? This leads to the question Michael Lee and I discussed on the way home yesterday: this team has been amazingly disciplined about saying the right things since Gil and Caron went down, but do they actually believe these things? I think Antawn Jamison does. Not sure about anyone else.]
Eddie Jordan: "I always say that in December and January, when we were going pretty darn good, that I always felt like I'm walking on the edge of a cliff and about to fall off," coach Eddie Jordan said. "I've been feeling that way a whole lot lately."
NY Daily News: It wasn't long ago that the Nets were facing the possibility of missing the playoffs. But suddenly, the odds are growing not only that they will make the postseason, but finish with the sixth seed in the East.
NY Post Headline: "We're Off to Seize the Wizards."
DeShawn Stevenson wrist band slogan: "Nutso."
[Of course, he and Gil have been calling each other Nutso for quite some time, but I didn't realize there was a wristband to that effect. Pretty nice.]
South Florida Sun-Sentinel: It was another empty exercise in a season crammed with them. What did the Heat learn from Tuesday's 92-82 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats? That continuity one week from the end of the season remains an abstract.
[So the Heat are storming into the playoffs, also. Expect a tie tonight. Seriously, can we just give the Bobcats a sponsor's exemption and declare them SE champs? What is that, four straight against the division's two playoff teams for the Bobcats?]
In other news, the Raptors fans have their quirky t-shirt site up and running, and Chris Bosh is blogging on NBA.com and doing a podcast. I mean, first you steal Washington's third seed, then you steal their gimmicks? What's next, you'll divide your locker rooms into North and South and start hoisting each other's deodorant sticks?
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