With yesterdays first consecutive win of the season for the formerly-struggling Wiz, talks of playoffs are heating up. How else could you analyze their brilliant sealing off of the vaunted Houston Rockets, who had found a way to fell the Wiz in seven straight ballgames before last night's obvious-that-the-bad-days-are-done W? After the hilarious comedic stylings that followed the Wiz's previous win over the so-much-worse-off (right down to the team name) Oklahoma City Thunder, where ESPN took time away from praising Lebron's latest commercial to pair highlights of poor basketball play with Benny Hill music, cracks from name-mispronouncing highly-paid yappers, and history-bearing stats, it seemed that a win against a team that even bears a slight resemblance to vauntedness would be impossible. This might especially be true considering these same Rockets entered Verizon Center and encountered the Wiz during a short cold snap, where the Wiz managed to miss something like their last eighty shots (and not all of them by DeShawn Stevenson!) before ultimately coming up short in the fourth quarter.
But odds-defying is something this inspired Wizards ballclub seems to encounter naturally. Just check the way the Wiz came close to defying the fixed odds of their Christmas day performance of the Cavs in their last loss, which seems so long ago. This whodathunkit nature translated to this brilliant victory last night in, of all forms, DeShawn Stevenson, who ignored all of the negativity surrounding his postively terrible season by hitting the absolutely huge fourth quarter shot, where he faded right on the baseline and gave the Wiz that insurmountable four-point lead. Stevenson's face finally lost that feeling, after he lost his starting spot, shooting confidence, ablility to effectively do anything, etc. We here at the DC Optimist see that bucket as evidence that this team has transitioned from historically terrible all the way to playoff contender. Could tonight's matchup with the also-vaunted New Orleans Hornets, where DeShawn hit another insane bucket at the end of the game last year be more evidence that the early-season hiccups of the losing variety are in the past?
Credit for the surge in winningness ought to also be doled out to new head coach Ed Tapscot, who has taken to rewarding the young, hungry and effective players with playing time. A Manny-like penchant for relaying inspirational quotes has both us and his newly contributing players inspired. Domenic McGuire does so many little things (and big things, especially defensively), that his inability to hit a jumpshot is inconsequential. Tap has also found ways to incorporate pups Andray Blatche, Nick Young, and occaisionally, Javaris Crittenden. Impressive work all around, as giving the Wiz youth the time to develop their game with playoff positioning a priority. Soon, once the Wizards finally receive a complement of players of the non-injured variety, they will be ready to overcome even the most seemingly insurmountable odds. Something they have shown an adept ability to do.