Having recently paused the hip-hop to tune into sounds from the past, Spotify’s Blues playlist introduced me to a song I knew but didn’t know: B.B. King’s, "The Thrill is Gone." I remember hearing it at B.B. King’s, a former restaurant in NYC’s Times Square, but didn’t quite listen with an unbiased ear, as the unbiased ear, as one of my buddies puts it, is the "only way to respect art." Now properly (re)introduced to the track, I gotta admit it slaps.
Mr. King’s track accurately defines the first 11 games of the Wizards season: The thrill is (currently) gone. Plainly put, the excitement for this season is on life support.
It started with Rui Hachimura’s severe case of pink eye, which had him out for a couple weeks. Prior to the infection, he was showing that he'd worked on his game this off-season, which is to say he looked like he had gotten better. But the thrill his preseason generated has been put on hold, with reduced minutes to boot.
It continued with the first blown lead. We initially excused the loss as the one-off game where the team was caught slipping at the finish. Who knew then that keeping leads would be such a thorny problem, contributing to the Wizards woes?
The thrill’s pulse was further weakened when the Wizards wasted Bradley Beal's recent masterpieces against the Celtics and 76ers. I mean…the performances were sensational. Aided by being in his prime and being ticked off from the potshots of non-hoopers who cannot guard him, he has been going HAM.
But it’s hard to keep excitement going when a 40-ball and 60-pointer are all for naught.
Already faintly beating, the thrill suffered back-to-back reactions of "DAMN" when Sham/Woj reported that Russell Westbrook has a gimpy quad and Thomas Bryant has a torn ACL. Injuries suck, man, as they usually siphon some of the excitement.
We might think the Dementors could leave the thrill’s soul, and this team, alone at this point. Nope. Tonight’s scheduled game is postponed, as the team doesn’t have eight ballers free of injury or Covid concerns. Can I get a third "DAMN?"
If we travel to Motown to play the Pistons, a win against Detroit will mean another two-game win streak. More importantly, it’ll pump back in some of the lost thrill. To ensure the win, the Wizards DJ should play the Prince of Motown’s – Washington, D.C.’s own, Marvin Gaye – "Ain't No Mountain High Enough." A proper song for beginning the climb from the bottom of the Southeast Division.