The Wizards’ long, futile quest to get above .500

(John McDonnell/The Washington Post)
(John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

The Wizards lost yet again Wednesday night when faced with a chance to peek their heads above .500 and fill their lungs with aromatic winning air. And lots of people then noted that the Wizards have repeatedly failed to take those winning breaths this season.

But it’s really worse than that. Because every season — even the worst losing season — comes with at least one chance to get above .500: the first game of the season. And when you add those chances in — this year’s, last year’s, 2011, 2010 and then an early-season game when the Wizards were 2-2 in 2009 — you’ll find that the Wizards have actually lost nine straight games when faced with a chance to go over .500.

And while some of these losses were excusable, many of them were against terrible teams. And six of the nine losses were at home. And six of the nine losses were by single digits, including five by six points or less.

A quick recap:

January 22, 2014: Facing a short-handed Celtics team that had lost 12 of 13, the Wizards went down by 19 in the first half, took a lead in the second half, then lost in overtime.

January 18, 2014: Two weeks after beating the Pistons in consecutive games by a combined 31 points, the Wizards lost an eight-point halftime lead at home.

January 1, 2014: The Mavericks are probably better than the Wizards, but Washington had a seven-point second-half lead in this one, and still lost.

December 6, 2013: The Bucks came to Washington with a 3-15 record, including a 1-8 mark on the road. They left with an overtime win.

October 30, 2013: Detroit started this season with a home win over Washington. The Pistons then lost four of their next five games.

October 30, 2012: Cleveland started the 2012 season with a home win over Washington. The Cavs then lost eight of their next nine games.

December 26, 2011: New Jersey started the 2011 season with a road with over Washington, despite being down 21 at one point. The Nets then lost nine of their next 10 games.

October 28, 2010: Starting the season in Orlando, the Wizards were down 20 points after 14 minutes, and never got the deficit back to single digits.

November 4, 2009: After a 2-2 start to the season, the Wizards hosted Miami with a chance to go to 3-2. The Wizards trailed by 16 in the second quarter, rallied to take a third-quarter lead, and were ahead by two points with 90 seconds left. Then they missed two free throws and four field-goal attempts, and the Heat scored the game’s last six points.

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.
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