We’re getting close to the All-Star Break. And things are still going really well here in the nation’s capital! Let’s get right to it!
Wizards keep the momentum going
Last Saturday, the Wizards beat the Pelicans, 105-91 to get their 17th straight home win. It was Polish Heritage Night, where he shared some facts on Polish culture and recapped how things went.
- Then on Monday, the Wizards played the Cavaliers and lost 140-135 in overtime at home in front of a national TV audience. LeBron James hit a game tying bank three to send it into extra minutes, and Kyrie Irving closed the game out.
- After losses, we wanted to see how Washington would take it. Is it the start of a big losing streak or do they bounce back? Fortunately, we saw the latter when they beat the Nets, 114-110 on the road in New York City in overtime. I wish it wasn’t an overtime game, but it is what it is.
- The Wizards finished their week with a 112-107 win over the Indiana Pacers on national television.
At the end of the day, Washington remains third place in the East with a 32-21 record.
The Mystics are the WNBA offseason champions
The Mystics made the biggest splash of the 2016-17 offseason when they signed Elena Delle Donne. But they made some more moves to solidify their core:
- The biggest acquisition was reported last Monday when they signed former L.A. Sparks point guard Kristi Toliver. Last season, Toliver won the WNBA title in L.A., and she’s one of the league’s best shooters. She is also a Maryland alumna, where she made a critical game tying three in her freshman year. That shot helped the Terps beat the Duke Blue Devils in the 2006 national championship game.
- The Mystics also re-signed Tayler Hill and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt. No surprises there. They added some peripheral pieces as well. Restricted free agent Krystal Thomas signed an offer sheet, but her most recent team, the Seattle Storm did not match.
- Finally, Delle Donne met up with John Wall and Bradley Beal on Friday.
On LeBron’s buzzer beater
The Wizards lost to the Cavaliers on Monday because LeBron James made a buzzer beating three to tie the game and force overtime. We have a number of pieces surrounding his play, and whether the Wizards should have or shouldn’t have fouled him:
- Alan Jenkins wrote that the Wizards shouldn’t have fouled.
- We also had a Q&A with Fear the Sword on the end of the big game.
- And despite the loss, the Wizards took it as a moral victory — in a good way. Mike Sykes has more.
- Bryan Frantz of Truth About It wrote about the “moral victory” as well.
The Wizards are taking advantage of virtual reality
ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh wrote a column this week on the Wizards being the the first NBA team to implement virtual reality into their training schedules. Multiple players like John Wall, Marcin Gortat, and Ian Mahinmi talked about the benefits of what a virtual scenario can do when translated into real-time game situations. Wall and Gortat specifically talked about their experience on a plank which can move based on the scenario. Sometimes, it can be unsettling:
When Marcin Gortat -- a 32-year-old 7-footer with a giant goblin tattoo on his left arm -- tried what's commonly referred to as "the plank," he went into a panic, getting on all fours to grab the board.
"It can really screw your mind up," Gortat says. "I started bending down, trying not to fall and stuff. I was in the room, trying to figure out, like, 'What is going on?'"
Gortat is still trying to decide whether he hates virtual reality or loves it.
"Oh man, it's amazing," Gortat says. "I think it can be successful, but for me, as a 10-year veteran, it's not going to change anything right now. It's the new tool of the century."
It should be no surprise that the Wizards are one of the first NBA teams to invest in technology like this. Ted Leonsis is a high-tech executive by trade, where he was at AOL during its heyday. And even on the basketball front, the Wizards used SportVU technology before it was implemented league wide.
The trade deadline is coming later this month. Here are some ideas we have and from other around the web:
- Tony East wrote about the feasibility of bringing in Serge Ibaka. We will have more on trade ideas later next week.
- The staff at FanSided’s Wiz of Awes wrote a couple pieces on potential trades. Osman Baig wrote on several here, while Ben Mehic wrote a case advocating why Washington should still consider bringing in Carmelo Anthony here.
Ian Mahinmi is back
The oft-injured center finally came back into action this week. Adam Rubin of Truth About It wrote about what several former Pacers teammates had to say about him.
- Ben Becker and Kevin Broom’s latest podcast is here.
- Paul Pierce showed his true colors when he was asked about Isaiah Thomas of the Celtics. Not surprised though.
- Danuel House will go back to the D-League for a quick stint before coming back to the Wizards.
- Giuseppe Kennedy wrote about how the Wizards stack up against the Cavs in a possible seven-game playoff series.
- Marcin Gortat and Markieff Morris called themselves the “Phoenix Outlaws.” Candace Buckner of The Washington Post has more.
- Finally, Ted Leonsis took some jabs at “experts” with the Wizards and Capitals reaching highs that they haven’t been before in some time.
These are the major storylines of the week, but they certainly aren’t the only ones around. If you have another link you’d like to share, feel free to do so in the comments or as a FanPost. Enjoy the rest of your Valentine’s weekends everyone!