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A Wizards Christmas

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Washington Bullets
The perfect 2021 gift for Wizards fans: a Christmas Day game.
Photo by Focus on Sport via Getty Images

The Wizards don’t have a Christmas game this year, but one thing’s clear from a search of Washington’s games on December 25 — they need 82 Christmas games every season.

According to Basketball-Reference, the Washington basketball franchise has played 22 games on Christmas Day. The franchise record: 15-7 — the level of a 56-win team over an 82-game schedule.

This is heady stuff for a franchise long known for futility. Even better, the team has a winning record in every iteration that’s competed on Christmas Day.

  • Chicago Packers — 1-0
  • Baltimore Bullets — 5-3
  • Capital Bullets — 1-0
  • Washington Bullets — 6-3
  • Washington Wizards — 2-1

The franchise’s first Christmas game was a 118-97 romp over the Detroit Pistons. The team was then known as the Chicago Packers, and it was the start of unprecedented yuletide joy for fans.

The team moved to Baltimore and played on Christmas 8 consecutive seasons from 1964-1971. Fans might have gotten a little worried because the string included three straight losses from 1965-1967.

But in a shocking development for this franchise, they righted the ship and went on a 9-game Christmas winning streak from 1968-1977. That’s an era old fans may remember as peak Wes Unseld.

If Ted Leonsis and Tommy Sheppard are doing the right thing, they’re petitioning the league for a Christmas game every year, though preferably not against Philadelphia — the only opponent with a winning record against Washington/Capital/Baltimore/Chicago on Christmas.

Washington’s most recent Christmas appearance was a 111-103 win against the Boston Celtics. That victory was led by John Wall’s 21 points and 14 assists, Bradley Beal’s 25 points and 8 rebounds, and Otto Porter’s 20 points on 10 field goal attempts. Kelly Oubre came off the bench to score 16 points in 32 minutes.

Over the 22 Christmas games, Washington has outscored opponents by a whopping 5.2 points per game — typically the scoring margin of one of the top 4-5 teams in the league.

Someone needs to get Adam Silver and the NBA schedule-makers a message. Wizards fans deserve a Christmas present next year. It doesn’t have to be extravagant — a game against the Knicks will be fine.

Merry Christmas!