The Wizards’ West Coast swing has gotten off to a poor start; the team implausibly blew a late lead in Sacramento, then lost center Marcin Gortat to a back injury before its loss in Portland, after Gortat tweaked a pre-existing strain during warm-ups.
Here’s Michael Lee on what happened:
Gortat wasn’t feeling soreness in his back before the game and thought he would get it loose during his pregame warm-ups. But he made it worse when he stretched out for dunk and felt a jolt in his back.
“I pulled all the way to the end and I couldn’t move it, so, I had kind of had like a block in my back, I guess a back spasm,” Gortat said. “I’ll be back. It’s not a big deal. Just got to get a few exercises. Get a few treatments and I’ll be back.”
Because there’s video of everything, there’s video of Gortat tweaking his back on that dunk. Not that any injury is fun, but it feels particularly galling to get hurt during warm-ups.
WALL ON THE BULLETS
John Wall is nostalgic for the Bullets logo. Also via Michael Lee:
“I like the Bullets hats. I like wearing them. I just think they have more style, more flavor,” Wall said. “The Wizards logo is cool. I like all that, but I wish we could go back to these – but I know we’re never going back. One time in my career, I would like to wear some throwback jerseys, just one time, one time. I want to wear it one time. I know it’s tough, but it’d be cool.”
BEAL AND WALL FILM PLAYOFF COMMERCIAL
New to me, via SLAM:
Just how far have the Wizards come since the days of Swaggy P, Agent Zero, Pierre and, um, Andray Blatche? Beal casually mentions that during his time in New Orleans, he and Wall have already filmed a commercial for the 2014 NBA Playoffs. The only thing those previous Wizards teams ever filmed was the Cinnamon Challenge for an episode of “The Nick and JaVale Show.” For a team with a loyal, long-suffering fanbase, Beal’s emergence represents change that can be believed in.
HOW DICK HELLER LAUNCHED THE SPORTS JUNKIES
Longtime Washington Times columnist Dick Heller died this week. He had a full and varied career in D.C. sports media, but among his odder accomplishments: helping launch the careers of the Sports Junkies. Via 106.7 The Fan’s Chris Lingebach:
In 1996, the Junkies were hosting a cable access television show out of Bowie, Md., had filmed 16 episodes, and were seeking feedback from an unbiased critic within the media.
“So in February of 1996, I called the Washington Times and asked to speak to Dick,” [J.P.] Flaim explained. “Though he expressed his doubts about the quality of a cable access television show, he thought the story of four friends pursuing a passion was interesting.”
“Dick Heller wrote about our cable access show for The Washington Times,” Eric Bickel tweeted Thursday, upon learning of Heller’s passing. “[106.7] WJFK saw it, and that day invited us to do a demo.”
That article – entitled “Sports Junkies: Four Longtime Buddies Talking Up a Storm on Uninhibited Cable-Access Show in Bowie” – ran in The Times on Monday, March 25, 1996. …
“Without Dick, I’m 100 percent certain we never would have worked professionally in radio or television,” Bickel said.
STEVE BUCKHANTZ SAYING ‘DA OLD HEADZ’
Steve Buckhantz trots out some new nicknames for the Wizards’ trio of older gentlemen. Via @RyanJKelly:
WHAT TO WATCH TODAY
The Wizards play the Lakers in L.A. at 10:30 on Comcast SportsNet. GW faces Memphis at 6:55 on TBS. Virginia meets Coastal Carolina at 9:25 on the same station. All radio and TV listings are here.