February has now ended, and the Wizards are officially in the last third of the season. Before you know it, the playoffs will be here, and remember. It ain’t over til the fat lady sings!
Let’s get to the top stories of the week.
Wizards start the post All-Star break slow, but get back in form
Last Friday, the Wizards lost to the Sixers, 120-112 on the road, and followed that up with a 102-92 loss to the Jazz last Sunday at home. Given how fickle D.C. area sports fans are — especially for the Wizards — that lowered the optimism for their match last Tuesday against the Warriors.
Then against the Warriors, Kevin Durant got hurt just one minute into the game! The Wizards raced to a huge first half lead, and managed to hold on for a 112-108 victory. They followed that up with a 105-96 win over the Raptors the following day on the road. Unfortunately, they lost on Friday at home to the Raptors, who were looking to get payback for Wednesday’s loss.
The Wizards are 36-24 and remain in third place of the Eastern Conference over the Raptors who are 37-25. They are three games behind the Celtics who have the second seed and six games behind the Cavaliers for the number one seed.
Some Wizards highlights
The first quarter of the Warriors win showed the Wizards at their best. John Wall made a sick tomahawk jam, and we saw an NBA Street-like play later on. I gotta show that again!
Wall --> Beal --> Oubre.@WashWizards are loose on @NBATV. pic.twitter.com/yf2pCXydot— NBA (@NBA) March 1, 2017
Former Wizards (and now Warriors) center JaVale McGee was best known for being a “Shaqtin a Fool” superstar because he had a knack for getting himself into the follies all ... the ... time. We’ll get to him in a little bit.
But this play showed John Wall playing dodgeball where the Polish Hammer looked like a bowling pin...
Finish him pic.twitter.com/1N9s77Ejpb— CSN Wizards (@CSNWizards) March 2, 2017
After the game, Marcin Gortat took it in good stride.
Gortat on the John Wall pass that hit him in the face: "they call this doo doo happen" pic.twitter.com/Xj3AknPzkJ— Danny (@recordsANDradio) March 2, 2017
Wall should take him out to the Kielbasa Factory and buy him a months’s supply of Polish meats like authentic kielbasas and breads — especially sweet chocolate babkas — for that.
Wizards sign Brandon Jennings, finally shore up a weak bench
The Wizards were rumored to sign the former Knicks guard off waivers last Tuesday. No one claimed him by 5 p.m. last Wednesday, which gave him the green light to come to D.C.
With Jennings now in Washington, they had to waive someone. They decided to let Danuel House go, who was still on assignment in the D-League.
With Jennings now in D.C., the Wizards should be two-deep at nearly every position heading into the playoffs. Though it’s good to see their improvements by acquiring young veterans like Jennings, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Markieff Morris last year, it also comes at the cost of drafting potential major rotation pieces and starters for the future.
Mike Thibault responds to Candice Wiggins’ interview
Before we started writing about the Mystics on a regular basis, we actually did write about Candice Wiggins — because she was once former guard Garrett Temple’s prom date.
With my HS prom date/Wizard @GTemp14!! SO PROUD OF THIS RIGHTEOUS MAN! #spoiledme lol ❤️ #whereiscandicesandiego pic.twitter.com/k6j6ubgVdN— Candice Dana Wiggins (@candicewiggins) January 28, 2015
But on February 20, Wiggins came into the spotlight for an interview in the San Diego Union Tribune where she noted that she was bullied during her WNBA career, possibly for being heterosexual. She also said some remarks, like the WNBA is a “98 percent” gay, that she was called a bitch many times when she was a rookie in 2008. And finally, Wiggins said that there is a bloodthirsty mentality in a league still fighting for relevancy.
The WNBA and the player’s union gave their statements on it where they were concerned about bullying but also stated that the league doesn’t stand for that type of culture.
But Mystics GM and Head Coach Mike Thibault gave some harsh remarks on Wiggins to Gene Wang of The Washington Post:
“I thought it was irresponsible and inaccurate on her part, and I only see self-serving in it,” said Thibault, the winningest coach in league history. “She played long enough that if she had issues, those are things to bring to somebody’s attention. Number two, she talks about being called names, and I think if you go back and look at her writing, there is a reason for some of that.”
Before Thibault made his remarks, Mystics guard Natasha Cloud responded on Twitter to the allegations denying that this happens:
I have never felt the need to play or act as a man. I have never felt judged or bullied about being straight.— Natasha Cloud (@T_Cloud4) February 21, 2017
I have always given respect to those who's sexual preference is different than mine (vice versus).— Natasha Cloud (@T_Cloud4) February 21, 2017
Yes we play in a cut throat business; but as a true competitor it challenges you to never be complacent.— Natasha Cloud (@T_Cloud4) February 21, 2017
I respect that her feelings are valid for her;but they are invalid for me. Generalization is a dangerous thing. Everyone has their own story— Natasha Cloud (@T_Cloud4) February 21, 2017
It’s unfortunate that Wiggins’ experience as a pro wasn’t the best experience. But some of her comments could have been expressed better.
More news and links
- We’ll have to wait a bit longer until we see Chris McCullough in a Wizards uniform. He was sent to the D-League for assignment.
- Jason Smith’s minutes have gone down since the All-Star break ended. Mike Knapp writes why he should still have his fair share of time.
- The Wizards were en fuego in the second quarter of Wednesday’s win against the Raptors. Jake Whitacre explores a bit more in detail.
- We had a Q&A with Nate Parham and Derek Knight of Golden State of Mind before Tuesday’s win, where we learned a bit more about NBA point guard rankings and how it’s like adjusting being a fan of a mediocre-at-best team to a high roller.
- Candace Buckner of The Washington Post talked to Brandon Jennings on life as the newest member of the Wizards. He doesn’t want to mess up the chemistry now that he’s on board.
- Osman Baig of Wiz of Awes wrote that Ernie Grunfeld has finally opened the door for the Wizards to win the Eastern Conference. But that task was more difficult than it had to be.
And these are the stories that defined the week that was, but they’re far from the only stories of the week. Have another link that you’d like to share? Feel free to do so in the comments or as a FanPost.
Enjoy the rest of your weekends!