Watching the latter half of the fourth quarter of Game 3 was like trying to swallow a ninja star wrapped in sandpaper. A nightmare going down, and worse imagining it exit the other end. Yeah, the end of Wiz-Bulls Game 3 was the pain and the promise of more, but this team never quit.
You know the moment during a car chase, in every movie not named Speed Racer, where one of the cars goes off a mountainside and you wonder/hope/pray if the driver can somehow get the car under control and survive the trip down? Yeah ... there was more than one of those moments on Friday night. I kept agonizing, refusing to watch and unable to pull my eyes away in case the Wizards did the impossible and forced overtime.
They played out the string but simply couldn't get the ball to go down when it counted. Here, Wizards fandom sits at 2-1, waiting to see if Nene will be suspended for Game 4. I sat back on the couch after time ran out, feeling simultaneously sunburned and microwaved. For half an hour I sat, quietly furious, attempting to compose myself. My fingers felt like they were made of cement as I went to Blog A Bull and offered a well-deserved gg. And then I chuckled.
After all, the Wizards lost Nene and didn't quit. It's like a wheel came off the car and the Wizards jacked the sucker up on two wheels in a mountain pass screaming, "LEGOOOOOOOOO!" Even that overlooks the fact that this team had trouble hitting fourth gear a few weeks ago and forget consistency. All of sudden, the Wizards can hit sixth gear and sustain it, while fifth gear just came along for the ride.
Now it's one o'clock in the morning, Eastern Time, and I'm wondering what happens if Nene is suspended.
The Wizards hit the deck with tires screaming, yet now they may have to replace a wheel. Or a transmission. Whatever. John Wall is kicking himself after missing crucial free throws, but there were plenty of missed opportunities where the Wiz simply could not get the ball to go down. That happens sometimes.
Wall, Bradley Beal and Trevor Booker have all shown tremendous growth and the team has seemingly gelled at the proper time, but Game 4 is another test. For my money, clinching is a fighting move and the NBA won't interpret it as anything else. If the Wiz get this car back on the road sans Nene and grind out a win, I'll finally allow myself a guilty peek at the second round and breathe a bit easier.
For now, my chest is tight when I think about Game 4 and I wonder if the car will hold together when the revs redline for four quarters straight. I hope the Wizards grind out another crazy beauty. I #pray4nene. And I love this shit.
Game 4 is coming up Sunday, much love to y'all. When life gives you lemons...