There weren’t many high points in a season in which the Wizards only won 23 games. But they left Verizon Center on Thursday with a lot of enthusiasm heading into next season -- whenever that will be -- and John Wall is already talking about claiming one of the top six spots in the Eastern Conference. The Wizards are heading toward their third straight trip to Secaucus, N.J., on May 17. But before they do, let’s take look back on the top 10 moments of the 2010-11 season. This will be broken down in five parts. Here’s Part I, featuring Nos. 10 and 9:
10. JaVale McGee’s triple double
“Who can say they got a triple double?” JaVale McGee said in response to those critics of his controversial triple double during a 98-79 loss to the Chicago Bulls on March 15. McGee had a career-high 12 blocked shots, 12 rebounds and 11 points to record the 48th point-rebound-block triple-double since 1986. It was the first of its kind since Dwight Howard had 30 points, 19 rebounds and 10 blocked shots on Nov. 12, 2008.
The controversy wasn’t in that McGee accomplished the feat, but the means he used to get it. The Wizards went to him on three consecutive possessions to help him get the one point he needed. He responded with a bad runner in the lane, an airball, and a turnover. And with the Wizards trailing by 20 points, John Wall scooped up a loose ball in the painted area, fed it to McGee near the basketball and cleared a path for him to dunk. McGee dunked and did a pull-up on the rim, earning a technical foul.
9. Double overtime loss to Oklahoma City Thunder
The Wizards have never won in Oklahoma City -- whether they were facing the Hornets or the Thunder, but they came close to finally getting that elusive victory when the team arrived at Oklahoma City Arena on Jan. 28. They were still seeking their first road win of the season and were in an unlikely position to pull out an upset, with JaVale McGee unable to travel with the team because of the flu. But with Trevor Booker unveiling the ”Cook Book” — going for 21 points and 12 rebounds, and guarding all-star Kevin Durant, in his first career start — the Wizards pushed the Thunder to two overtimes before losing 124-117. Nick Young scored a team-high 32 points but missed a potential game-winner in overtime. Durant scored 10 or his 40 points in the second overtime and got some assistance from Russell Westbrook, who had 35 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists, as the Thunder dropped the Wizards to 0-22 on the road.