Thursday, April 10, 2008

"One of those Manly Games"

That quote is from playoff-bound Wizards coach Eddie Jordan regarding his team pwning the constantly vaunted Boston Celtics and their best record in the league for a third straight time. It references a style of play where 'men' emerge from the pomp, circumstance, anticipation nerves and pressure packing that usually belie a team that has withstood much in the way of adversity on their way to another successful season. The 'manliness' that was on display in front of 20,000-plus at the Verizon Center became glaringly apparent when Antawn Jamison shook an "intense" Kevin Garnett on the baseline with a post move, swung left and blasted a dunk over the grill of Kendrick Perkins. On the next play, Garnett, who earlier managed to toss two no-look passes into the stands, attempted to post up Jamison, only to have the ball deflected off of his leg by non-nicknamed number 4 and his inherrent tenacity. One wonders if Garnett, who couldn't help but recognize the swagger of the Wiz after the game, cried to John Thompson after seeing the highlights (at least he managed to block some shots after the whistle. INTENSELY).

We were supposed to be mourning this Wizards team, after Jamison and Deshawn "Man" Stevenson crumbled during that freak jump ball and subsequent Buckhantz "NOOOOOOOO!" against the Bucks, but as we noted earlier, this team can withstand gut punches, much like Andray Blatche withstood gunshots and Oleksiy Pecherov withstood the screams in terror of young children who bear witness to his ghastliness. That is why the Wizards remain the manliest team in the league. When the Miami Heat received a few injurious days, they withered like the pages of an old paper back, with on-again, off-again head coach Pat Riley taking "scouting trips" during the more mundane required schedule appearances. Quitting in the face of adversity is not manly.

Neither is posturing, as the intense KG continued to do last night despite being worked up and down the court by Jamison and Brendan Haywood. Remember before the year started when Gilbert was on a media rampage, and he made some comments about not double-teaming Garnett in the clutch and it lead to a bunch of people bad mouthing him and Bostonians to lose their chowdah? Geez, Gilbert sure is sounding clairvoyant now, despite weathering the boos of a lustful Boston crowd in the only non-successful meeting between the C's that occurred after his fateful interview with Dime. It reminds me of other sets of clairvoyant predictions made in these parts. Could weathering the maelstrom and emerging in a strong playoff position be in the cards for the Nationals? We think so!

Now that the real big three have returned, it is time to properly get excited about the Wiz. The fourth seed could be secured in a very Caps-like fashion if the next four games are won, and Cleveland falters slightly. A first-round matchup with those hated Cavs, who, barring the intervention of marketing-minded referees, shouldn't be much of a problem, as shouldn't a second rounder with those Celtics and their vauntedness.

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