Last Friday evening, my wife held a ladies’ bunco party at my house. Needing to make myself scarce, I paid a return visit to the Kings in Sacramento to see them play the Washington Wizards, who have been a rising team in the NBA’s Eastern Conference as recently described in The Ringer:
The Wizards beat the Kings in overtime, 130-122, and they looked like genuine contenders. Their biggest stars were their guards, John Wall and Bradley Beal, with enough support from the rest of the roster to ensure that their talents weren’t wasted. Beal led the Wizards in scoring in Friday’s game, mostly because his outside shot was on target. Wall’s shots from the perimeter weren’t falling, so his points usually came from his explosions to the basket, which were beautiful to watch.
For most of the game, however, it looked like their efforts wouldn’t be enough, because the Kings put on an offensive show of their own for the first three quarters, nearly scoring a hundred points and opening a 15-point lead against the Wizards. As in their game with the Utah Jazz, however, the Kings ran out of gas in the fourth quarter, allowing the Wizards to come back and force the overtime. The Kings quickly fell behind in the extra period. With the outcome apparent, fans began to leave, and the arena was about half-empty by the final buzzer.
The Kings have had to endure some collapses of late, but at least they are giving their fans good value for their entertainment dollar. The Wizards, on the other hand, look ready to give the Cleveland Cavaliers all they can handle should they meet in the playoffs. Long-time basketball fans should be happy about this. Washington, DC has spent a long time in basketball purgatory–longer even than Sacramento–and its fans deserve a taste of success as much as anyone. A matchup with LeBron, perhaps in the Eastern Conference Finals, would be a just reward for their perseverance.