WASHINGTON, April 10 — Achieving a feat not known to Washington basketball franchises since the late 80's, the Wizards secured their third-straight playoff appearance last night after the Indiana Pacers lost to the Philadelphia 76ers, 90-86. The last time the Wizards had made three straight postseasons was the halcylon days of 1984-1988 where those memorable Gene Shue/Kevin Loughery/Wes Unseld-guided clatches of twilight-aged veterans and scrappy young freakishly-tall Sudanese spear-wielders, freakishly short point guards, and unrelated Malones took their .500 records to first-round losses like it was a Summer tradition. The Wizards are the first Washington-area non-soccer team to make the playoffs three straight years since the Capitals, who made it to the postseason 14 straight years by dominating their division(s) and losing in the first round from 1982-1996.
Such a magnanimous, fan-inspiring feat was not lost on the Wizards, who decided to spend the final 1:41 of their meaningless game against the Nets resting up for real playoff matchups. Darius Songaila, quickly carving an ivory-like niche for himself off the Wizards bench, had a season high 19 points. Eddie Jordan, in all of his wisdom, negated giving the ball to leading scorer and lone player of note Antawn Jamison in the final minute, instead taking the Nets by surprise by running two consecutive isolation plays for Deshawn Stevenson (7 pts). The moves may have not paid off, but the acumen of a daring head coach must be noted.
On the subject of terrible drives, the Wizards continue their late season playoff push against the hilariously-fraying Miami Heat, who will likely be without forward James Posey, arrested yesterday on a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol. Posey maintains that he was neither drunk nor driving at the time. Stevenson on the other hand, had no comment regarding his driving.
While the game result wasn't on the positive side in terms of the win-loss column, the Wizards again played a nail-biting, ultra-competitive game, which has become a hallmark of this late season push. 12 of the Wizards previous 13 losses have been by less than 10 points. So much for getting blown out every game, right! Despite another game-time setback however, the Wizards, in the playoffs where they belong, are not, I repeat, not giving up, wimping out, cutting and/or running. Venerable guard Antonio Daniels sums up the remaining Wizards' feelings: "That which doesn't kill you only makes you stronger," Daniels said. "And we're getting stronger." Amen AD.