OK, so maybe at 9-30, the Washington Wizards aren't technically, mathematically eliminated from the playoffs just yet. But c'mon, they'd have go what, 31-12 from here on out to even sniff the eighth seed? Ludicrous, right?
Then again, a 31-12 record equivocates to a .744 winning percentage. Sure, only the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs have higher winning percentages, but the Los Angeles Clippers have won exactly 74.4 percent of their games, and as you'll remember, the Wizards were that close to beating the Clippers on their own floor a few days ago, so it can be done, right?
No, it can't. But don't tell that to John Wall and Randy Wittman, who both said the Wiz are still gunning for the playoffs in a column by Mike Wise in today's Washington Post:
"I know it's very way out of the way to make the playoffs, thinking you can make it. But we're not giving up on the season, point-blank, that's what I'm saying," Wall said. "We go into every game still thinking we got a shot to make it."
"It's a just a good feeling, knowing you can be a team that you wanted to be when people actually get healthy," Wall said. "Like I said, we're goin' out every night thinkin' we can make the playoffs until we can't."
"I don't foresee us giving up on the idea [of the playoffs]," Wittman said. "Even when things were really bad, when we started like we did, I never had that moment where I had go back in the office and tell my assistants, ‘Gee, we got to do something to make sure they don't quit.' Every night they go out there and fight their [behinds] off.
"Now they finally see light at the end of the tunnel. Where does that lead us this year? I don't know," he continued. "But we got to keep building. I told 'em, ‘Let's see what we can do the last half of the season.' That's where we're at."
It's expected of professional athletes and coaches to not give up in their goals so long as they're theoretically achievable, so in that sense, it is good to see Wall's and Wittman's determination.
Then again, they shouldn't become so focused on what has become a lost season that they lose sight of the fact that, at this point, the Wizards are really playing for next year. Say nagging injuries start to bug Wall or Nene again; there's no need to push either this season in hopes of some fantastical run to the playoffs. Right?