Thursday, December 29, 2005

We're Off To See The Wizards, The Wonderful Wizards of Oz...

There was some debate on whether or not Steve Nash was the MVP last year, but after watching him in person Wednesday night, I’d like to just confirm my vote.

On a night where his shot was off and only his partner in crime, Shawn Marion, was scoring well, Nash led his team to a victory on the road against a good Wizards team. He ended the game with sixteen assists, but if anybody on his team could hit a freakin’ jump shot, he would have had 25. Boris Diaw was 5 of 14 (although clutch at the end of the game), Raja Bell was 5 for 14, Jim Jackson was 0 for 2 and Eddie House was 1 of 7. It took James Jones, who ended up shooting just under 50% in getting his sixteen points, the entire game to find his rhythm. But there was Nash, slicing into the lane, getting freakin’ Pat Burke four points and leading his team to victory.

When Amare gets back and Leanardo Barbosa gets healthy, this team is going to be one tough out in the Western conference playoffs. I still think they might need another shooter, unless they’re happy relying on Raja Bell and James Jones, who are shooting 37 and 41 percent from three so far this season. It could be a gamble, but they just need their secondary players to make open threes and finish the lay-ups they’ll get with Nash, Marion and Stoudemire flying around the court.

As a bonus to me, one of my favorite college players, Coran Butler, scored 22 points and kept Washington in it during the first half when Gilbert was struggling Marion was giving Antawn all sorts of trouble. I still wonder what would have happened if Miami had kept the Dwyane Wade/Lamar Odom/Coran Butler/Eddie Jones/Brian Grant/Jameer Nelson (that’s who the Heat would have drafted) combination together as opposed to trading for Shaq. Obviously, the Heat wouldn’t be where they were right now, but I still think they would have been a top two or three team in East and right up there in the NBA rankings.


As far as DC goes, I hadn’t been there since the summer of 2002 and never had been around the MCI Center area. We caught the Metro – which was nicer than Boston’s T and Chicago’s El, but more confusing to a group of novices wandering into the Shady Grove station – into the station directly under the arena shared by the Wiz and Capitols. As it turns out, the MCI Center is connected to a mini-mall area that sports a 14-screen movie theater, a variety of nice little restaurants and a Lucky Strike bar/bowling alley that makes the Mills’ look like some silly little wuss version of the same bar. Sadly, we didn’t get there soon enough to utilize the “seven dollars a game, but hey, we’re playing Kingpin on big screens while you bowl” facility, but there’s always next time.

The area around the arena is not lacking in aura, either. Between the random pillared buildings and massive entrance to Chinatown, I agreed with Pete when he said it was ripped right out of a movie. (That statement rings truer when you take into account there was a Coyote Ugly across the street.) There were a lot of uber-nice restaurants and clubs, as well as some nicer, cheaper places. Also noticeable was the decent amount of empty buildings, which looked like prime candidates for a quality jazz club if given the right vision, investment and neon sign outside.

(On a side note, I really feel like I’d be a good rich person. I’d give to charities and be sound in my investments. By being sound, I mean I’d spend a solid six months in Chicago doing nothing but attending jazz clubs and finding the right people to help me run mine. I’d then scope out the sites and get to know the surrounding businesses, mainly by going to Wizards games and then eating/hanging out in the various places, before finally opening up my club, spending whatever it took to get Norah Jones to open. Like you wouldn’t want me to be rich, too. I’d make it fun for everyone involved.)

On the way home, we were stuck on a Metro car with a drunken Redskins and Ohio State fan. Poor Kody took the brunt of it at first, due to his Michigan hat, but eventually I ended my ten minutes of silence, revealed my “Brady For Heisman” shirt and the poor guy was hit with a barrage of knowledge he couldn’t have been ready for. For the record, with the bets he made with me, he should owe me about a hundred and fifty bucks now, but thankfully, we’ll never see him again. Due to the fact he at first annoyed us, but then really entertained us by stepping into a fivesome of pigskin knowledge, I almost felt bad he missed his stop. Almost. Hopefully that serves as a warning to him the next time he begins drunkenly ranting to people on a Metro car, because there’s a good chance the guy you’re challenging might know Eli Manning’s road record by heart.

So the lesson, as always, is that everywhere I go that isn’t Dayton, PA or South Bend, IN is infinitely cooler than the previously mentioned places where I spend most of my time. Also, if the Penguins get a new arena, I’d like to have Pittsburgh consider bringing in an NBA team, because the city fell in love with Pitt’s basketball team, despite not having a basic understanding of the concepts of hoops. It would help if there was an established star that would fill the arena – AI – or a style of play Pittsburgh (Hard-nosed) or anyone else (the Suns) would enjoy, but I think the Burgh could sustain an NBA team under the right circumstances.


College bowl games (How bout them Huskers?) recaps and previews tomorrow. We’re getting into good times, with tomorrow’s sweet slate, starting with Virginia/Minnesota all the way into LSU/Miami (FL) game tomorrow night. Two days til New Years Eve in Niagara, Barcus and Sutton arrive tomorrow and it’s all happy action fun time.

Keep on enjoying the Winter Break, folks.

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