The seventies simply were the golden years of the Washington Wizards (formerly known as the Washington Bullets). In that decade, the Wizards chalked up ten consecutive winning seasons and 12 playoff appearances that culminated in their winning the championship in 1978 and replicating their basketball wizardry the following year when they reached the finals, only to be outshone and outpaced by the Golden State Warriors.
Led by the formidable Wes Unseld, the Wizards had in Earl Monroe, Kevin Loughery, Gus Johnson, and later Elvin Hayes, players with high basketball acumen and an indomitable will to win, even if the odds were starkly stacked against them. Those glorious years seem a distant memory to many fans of the Wizards. for not even the acquisition of the mercurial Michael Jordan to help the Wizards re-live the success story of the 70s worked.
But that may change in this decade. This season, with coach Randy Wittman at the helm, the Wizards have assembled a coterie of committed and talented ball players seemingly with the elan, flair, and flaming desire to refashion and relive the excellent script of the seventies. John Wall, Trevor Ariza, Bradley Beal, Nene Hilario, Marcin Gortat, Trevor Booker, Kevin Seraphin, Jan Vesely, and Otto Porter, Jr. are filled with a fiery ambition to play some fascinating basketball to qualify for the playoffs this season as Al Harrington and Glen Rice, Jr. work assiduously on their recuperating regimen to come and contribute to their worthy cause.
However, if the Wizards are to qualify for the playoffs, they have to come to the grim realization that winning at home is equally as salient as winning on the road. At the time of writing this piece, the Wizards had lost seven of their last eight home games, but the news about their road games is quite refreshing because on their last road trip, they won two out of three, downing the New Orleans Pelicans and Charlotte Bobcats and losing only to Indiana Pacers, who possess the best record in the NBA at the moment. Currently, the Wizards are three games below .500, having won 16 with 19 going to the loss column and are third in the Southeastern Conference.
Indeed, the Wizards hinted at how excellently they can play this season and for that matter, this decade, when they recovered from a 25-point deficit in the fourth quarter against a James Harden and Dwight Howard-led Houston Rockets to take a five-point lead but melted down with exhaustion with four minutes left in the game. That paved the way for the Rockets to rebound to coast to a 114 to 107 victory Saturday night at Verizon Center.
Whether the Wizards will be able to overcome their nervousness at the Verizon Center bag some memorable wins in front of their adoring fans will be tested this week. On Monday, the wizards travel to Chicago to battle against Joakim Noah and the Bulls. On Wednesday, they return to the Verizon Center to engage LeBron James and battle-weary Miami Heat before taking on the Bulls in a return fixture on Friday. They round out the week with a game against the Detroit Pistons.
The Wizards for now are trailing Miami and Atlanta, so their fans expect them to overcome their home blues and win some games for them. I don’t think that is too much to ask from guys making millions of dollars to do just that.