The Washington Wizards have put out a unique product all season both on the court and off of it.
Basketball fans in D.C. have been treated to various post-game activities, among them a World Series watch party (Game 7 where the Nationals clinched), a showing of a Star Wars movie, and a handful of musical concerts including artists Mase and Dru Hill, who were set to perform after the Wizards contest with the Mavericks on Friday night.
Prior to the Performance, it was Bradley Beal who Stole the Spotlight.
The game is tied at 117. Tim Hardway Jr. got fouled (it was questionable call, though not nearly as questionable as the non-goal tending call in the Jazz-Blazers game on Friday), leaving just 1.2 seconds left in the contest. Hardaway went to the line and clanked the first. The second foul shot, which if it had missed would have bought the whole arena Chick-Fil-A, bounced around the rim and fell in. It seemed like the Mavs had pulled out a victory.
After a Scott Brooks timeout, the Wizards ran an out of bounds play and Troy Brown Jr. did his best Dwayne Haskins impression (Haskins was in the building to witness). He hit Beal with a pass as he ran down the paint to the hoop.
The crowd erupts. The Wizards win.
But after the game, Beal remained cool when talking with the media, including Heavy.com. The shooting guard has been here before.
“That was just reading the game. I was supposed to come off clear cut that way closer to Troy [Brown Jr.], kind of make a play closer to the baseline and towards the hoop,” Beal said. “But I saw they kind of jumped it and nobody was at the basket, so I just made a basketball play. Thank God Troy made a great pass.”
“This is probably my second or third [buzzer beater],” Beal said. “It just meant a lot to win at the end of the day. We’ve got, what…four or five home games before the break? We can take full advantage of that and be sitting right in the playoff picture. That’s really all I’ve got my eyes set on. I’ve been in that position many of times and it is a great feeling to finally be on the other side of it, but at the same time I’ve got to get [myself] in the gym, because I missed too many shots down the stretch.”
Washington has now pulled out home wins over the Spurs, Sixers, Heat, Nuggets, Celtics, and Mavs among other teams. Don’t look now, but they own the ninth seed in the conference, sitting just three games behind the Magic for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Ma$e Puts on a Show
Bradley Beal’s game-winning shot is a hard act to follow, though rapper Mason Betha, aka Mase, is no stranger to the big stage. On Friday, he came out to a crowd of thousands of fans.
Some fans told Heavy.com that they had come to the arena specifically for the post-game concert. Just like the Wizards’ offense, which committed 13 turnovers on the night, the show wasn’t without a glitch. Mase and DJ Quick didn’t appear to be on the same page during some crucial moments.
Still, the show was a hit. Mase, Dru Hill, and the other performers gave fans a special experience, just as Bradley Beal did an hour prior.
Welcome Back the Wizards to the Playoffs?
Playoffs? Playoffs? Are we talking about…
Yes, we are. The Wizards are currently just three games back of the Magic, a team that has gone 2-8 over its last 10. Washington opted against making any win-now moves at the deadline, though it brought in Shabazz Napier and former No. 13 overall pick Jerome Robinson.
No one expected this club to be among the league’s offensive leaders and no one expected them to be in the playoff hunt after the trade deadline. Both are the case and more unique performances out of Washington are sure to come before the end of the season.