The Washington Wizards host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night at the Verizon Center. It's the first time Kevin Durant has traveled to the Verizon Center since the Durant to the Wizards hype went viral over the summer.
As the game has gotten closer and closer, the hype keeps growing. The Twitter buzz around Wednesday's game is rising. Customized Kevin Durant Wizard jerseys are appearing more often at the Verizon Center. And Durant himself is getting more squirrely online.
On Monday, CSN Washington announcers Steve Buckhantz and Phil Chenier got in on the action during the closing minutes of the Wizards' blowout win over the 76ers. Here's what they had to say.
Buckhantz: You're gonna see the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night.
Chenier: Lot of excitement there. Washington feels they owe them one.
Buckhantz: Yep. The Wizards had two leads in that OKC game out West by 8 points each. But Kevin Durant does what he does best late in the game, and that was it.
Chenier: Better than anyone in this league.
Buchantz: So that'll be a nice homecoming. It'll be interesting to see how many of the fans turn out with KD2DC shirts, and other memorabilia.
Chenier: I haven't seen those shirts.
Buckhantz: Well I've seen the signs, I haven't seen if they have any shirts yet, I'll get to work on that, Phil.
Chenier: I'm sure you will. [Both chuckle]
For a short while, they went back to discussing the game and went to commercial. When the broadcast came back, Buckhantz and Chenier resumed their discussion while Otto Porter took some free throws.
Buckantz: I'm told by one of our fans, one our viewers, Scott B @InsideTheBlock that the KD2DC shirts very much exist. They're out there.
Buckhantz: So let's see how many are displayed Wednesday night here.We talked about this before, in order for Kevin Durant to come here, it's not just going to be "Hey, I want to go home, I want to play at home, or I like the Redskins and I want to go back. This Wizards team has to be on the rise. They have to be playing well for him to consider coming here and possibly adding to this group to make them a contender. They certainly are off on the right foot this year.
Buckhantz: For more on OKC, let's check in with Chris Miller. Chris, your thoughts:
Chris Miller: Well, Buck and Phil, this team was a lot different than the one that was without Westbrook for a little bit, a little bit without Durant. They've added some pieces, some firepower off that bench with Dion Waiters. And the question that I have for both of you guys is, going into this game Wednesday, is from a fan's perspective: How do you handle Kevin Durant? Normally, he gets some cheers here, but this could be used as a recruiting tool also. You don't want to boo him too much, do you cheer him like "We love you, we want you to come here in two years" or is it just "You're from here, we're just glad you're here, but we want the Wizards to win."
Buckhantz: To be truthful Chris, I don't think anybody's going to boo him.
Chenier: I can't imagine that.
Buckhantz: They love him here.
Chenier: Because he's from here, but how about because he's one of the best players this game has seen.
Chenier: And fans here, I always thought, really appreciate talent, good basketball. It made me reflect back on the time I got traded to Indiana and Gervin came in. Of course, Indiana loves their basketball there. And Gervin got off to one of those starts, finished with 54, 55 points and I mean, they gave him a standing ovation. You appreciate that kind of excellence.
Not to say that I hope he gets 55.
Buchantz: Or takes over, like he did in Oklahoma City, but he does that all the time so it wouldn't be surprising.
Yeah Chris, I think there will be cheers for him. There will be ovations. There will be urging by the fans, because you're right, it will be a bit of recruiting visit, if you will. But he knows how people here feel about him.
Chenier: That's so far down the road.
Buckhantz: Yes it is. A long way.
Chenier: You want to be prepared for, just in case. But I mean, he knows what basketball is like in this area.
But they weren't done! After Kris Humphries missed three straight free throws, they closed their discussion a moment later:
Chenier: Still thinking about those KD2DC shirts.
Buckhantz: You need to get a couple of those.
Chenier: Extra large, if you're wondering.
Wednesday should be fun.