The Wizards season has been a season of highs and lows. We feel very encouraged by the highs and deflate by the lows. This week, we're back with the highs, but time is running out. Let's check out the top stories of the past week.
Wizards win three crucial games in a row after getting blown out in two consecutive games
Last Friday, the Wizards got destroyed, 114-93 by the Utah Jazz on the road. And if that wasn't bad enough, they lost 116-100 to the Nuggets which finished a horrible three-game road trip. After the loss to Denver, Washington lost five games in a row, and it was looking like the end of the world as we knew it.
But of course, the Wizards are the Wizards. They just know how to get us to believe again after it looks like there is nothing left to believe in.
On Monday, they played the Detroit Pistons and demolished them. It was a 124-81 blowout, a blowout of blowouts. I went to that game and was actually debating whether to leave after the third quarter because they were winning by so many points. Ultimately I stayed just so I could sink it all in. The Wizards followed that performance up with another blowout over the Chicago Bulls, winning 117-96. Again, things were trending up.
It's not just the win streak that was great. The Wizards also won critical tiebreakers vs. the Pistons AND Bulls in the process.
Finally, they beat the Philadelphia 76ers 99-94 on Thursday night. The second half was a stark reminder of why Washington has struggled all season, but the bottom line at this point is that they won.
The playoff race is still tight, and it won't be easy
Let's not be too excited right now about a Wizards playoff berth just yet. Jake outlined the four challenges Washington still faces despite their recent performance boost. Arthur also gave some pointers on what to look out for as well.
The most important thing in all of this with the playoff race in my mind is this. The Wizards just have to keep winning in order to stay in it and let the chips fall where they may.
Monumental Sports will have its AFL Football team in 2017
Monumental Sports officially announced on Wednesday that an arena football team will begin play in the 2017 season and call the Verizon Center home. We've written on it when the talks were heating up, but our friends at Japer's Rink has more on the official story.
Monumental Sports Network has a video recap here and a press release here. In the release, Monumental Sports minority owner Roger Mody will be the AFL team's managing partner.
Mystics and Wizards host Special Olympics game
On Tuesday, the Mystics and Wizards hosted a Special Olympics basketball game in Washington. It is the fifth straight year that they have hosted the event.
Mystics guard Natasha Cloud served as a referee in the game. And also, some members of the Harlem Globetrotters also took part.
SBNation.com wrote mostly on the Wizards stuff here. John Wall led the way as a referee and Marcin Gortat gave the starting lineups.
Also, Garrett Temple, Ramon Sessions, and Jarell Eddie were honorary coaches. You can watch a video segment below from Monumental Sports Network's Wizards Magazine.
Former Mystics star Chamique Holdsclaw hosts movie screening
If you ask me who the most notable Mystics player is in franchise history, I'll give you one name: Chamique Holdsclaw. Holdsclaw was the first pick in the 1999 WNBA Draft, where she came from the University of Tennessee Lady Vols Basketball team, that won three consecutive national championships from 1996-1998.
In fact, she is the only franchise player that they ever had, unless Emma Meesseman really wants to get that role. We'll get to her later.
On March 10, the D.C. Independent Film Festival aired a screening of Mind/Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw, a documentary on her battle with clinical depression. Holdsclaw played for the Mystics from 1999-2004. Her departure from the Mystics happened as her depression became worse. She ultimately played for the Los Angeles Sparks from 2005-2007, the Atlanta Dream in 2009, and the San Antonio Stars in 2010.
Today she is a mental health advocate.
After the movie, Holdsclaw and the director, Rick Goldsmith held a Q&A for Mystics season ticket holders.
Top BF Features
We had a number of stats-themed pieces over the past seven days. I wrote about five different statistical areas where the Wizards were performing very poorly on Monday after they lost five games in a row. It was depressing to write quite frankly. Jake built on that with a piece on why the Wizards were underperforming this season. It's not about the pace. It's all the other things.
Jake also wrote about the promise Kelly Oubre is showing in his rookie season and that awesome sign one fan put up during the Bulls game on the day Metrorail was shut down.
ElleLovesTennis kept us posted on how some of the Mystics are doing in the EuroLeague Women playoffs. Emma Meesseman and Russian superteam UMMC Ekaterinburg will face off against Kia Vaughn and Czech power USK Praha in the semifinals.
Also, jensrules set the record straight on the term Wizards Killer. They number one killer has been the Wizards themselves.
Notable Wizards and Mystics stories outside of Bullets Forever
Howard Medgal of Excelle Sports wrote a column on Emma Meesseman. Mike Thibault is making it clear who he wants to be the top option of the team going forward. Here is the money quote of the entire piece, as it related to the Mystics. Emphasis is mine
"I’ll put it this way: there are people out there who write, or fans who say I don’t use her enough," Thibault said. "She’s got to share that vision. Because she’s so young, she’s had a hard time believing she’s in the same conversation with other players. And this has been a revelation for her."
I think one thing looks clear from that quote: He may not have said in these words, but Thibault wants Meesseman to be the franchise player. It's no accident as to why he signed her to a sophomore extension a year earlier than he had to. A coaching staff has to focus on basketball first and foremost, but a move like this explicitly sets the course for what's in store down the road.
Phil Edwards, Joss Fong, and Joe Posner of Vox.com took a look at how Monumental Sports' game crew creates the kiss cam during Wizards games. Pretty cool stuff.
These are just some of the many stories out there over the past week, but they certainly aren't the only ones. If you have another link to share, do so in the links below, or write a FanPost!