Last night, in a move that wasn't surprising, at least to us, Gilbert Arenas returned to the lineup to score 17 points off the bench for the Wiz in a game where they lead pretty much the whole time, all the way up to the end in fact. Gilbert, as per his usual flair-for-the-dramatic ways, kept Wizards beat writers, the internet, sports talk 980, etc all on the edge of their press boxed and cubicled seats regarding his decision to ignore sound medical advice and abstain from game action during that so-so west coast road trip, only to skip shoot around, make statements about his non-playing status, and then play. Mr. Cliche'd Quirk suited up in one of those number zero jerseys that are freely tossed into the stands after games and sank his first four shots. Rust was not really displayed as he managed to exude a bit of his patented clutch-osity hitting two free throws at the end of regulation. It reminded us that it has been a long year of waiting for the Wiz to finally return to full strength.
So with that close-to-full complement of Wizards players, the team returned to their Eastern-Conference-leading-at-one-point ways by losing in heart-gouging fashion to a team so beneath them, playing defense reminiscent of last season's legendary squad. Also similar to their recent glorious past, key players managed to injure themselves in a most awe-f*&%$-inspiring manner. As if the good lord was hand-guiding them in that final fateful few seconds, both Antawn Jamison and DeShawn Stevenson managed to injure themselves simultaneously on a dive for a loose ball a mere seconds before a d-leaguer sank a freakin... seriously, you can't script fatefull season endings of this magnitude. (I am hearing a certain twinkling piano-still photo montage commercial in my head about "Amazing" things...)
But with this recent blast-from-the-past style of play, one can (make a flailing attempt to) look to the positives. Back in those days when "not possibles" rained down from marginal players, and centers were both brawling and bawling (and not ballin') and crucial ligaments and bones shredded at the most inopportune times, etc et-f&*%in cetera, the play of Gilbert Arenas was nothing short of spectacular. These types of losses happened frequently, even before they started to really happen even more frequently when Arenas and Butler's seasons bit the proverbial dust (remember the Donaghy-assisted depleted Iverson trade-Nuggets loss post-60-pointer? That gawd awful Atlanta Hawks Caron-is-finally-back game?). The Wiz were able to withstand those soul-crushers, just like they were able to withstand soul-crushing injuries, soul-crushing refereeings, soul-crushing home crowds, soul-crushing draft picks, and soul-crushing blog posts that eventually jinxed whatever goodness surrounded the team in an alarmingly short time period. The Magnetic Resonance Imaging results from 'tawn's shoulder are to arrive soon making the past look like it may eerily repeat itself, but instead of huddling into the fetal position, chanting "Nats undefeated, Caps playing meaningful games" to yourself while you soil your Jared Jeffries jersey, think about the good parts of the past. Try. Seriously.