Wizards’ Top Five Moments of the 21st Century

What are the best moments the Washington Wizards have had this century? We tried to answer that question in this week’s Bleav in Wizards podcast!

“Best” could be interpreted in many ways, but I selfishly considered it the moments that brought me the most joy as a Wizards fan. On the podcast, we talked about several others who weren’t in the top 5 for Osman Baig so I’m sure to check that out for our honorable mentions. And tell us in the comments what would be your top 5!

1) John Wall’s three winners in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against Boston in 2017

The Wizards were down 91-89 until Wall hit that three to give them the 92-91. Wall started the game 1-12 from the field and Bradley Beal started the game 0-7 from three. Beal hit a late three and made a big run to get them into position, then Wall hit the dagger. Wall finished 9-25 (2-5 of three) for 26 points and 8 assists. Beal was 15-26 overall (1-8 of three) and had 33 points, 3 rebounds and 5 assists. The whole bench collected 13 points.

They ultimately lost the show, so maybe that warrants a downgrade, but in terms of the most high-profile single moments I’ve had as a fan, this has to take the cake. (Author’s note: I fully admit there could be a recency bias here, as most of the other items on this list are much older).

Wall shooting the winner of the game against Boston
Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

2) Gilbert Arenas defeats Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash in the same week in 2006

In a game against the Lakers, Arenas had 60 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists to Bryant’s 45 points, 8 rebounds and 10 assists. As if that weren’t enough, five days later, Arenas scored 54 points against the Phoenix with their top defensemen (Shawn Marion included) draped over him. Once again he eclipsed one of the game’s top stars as Steve Nash had 42 points and 12 assists.

Arenas conceded a three with 30 seconds left in overtime to secure the win, ending a 15-game winning streak for the Suns. Not only did he have big numbers, but it allowed the Wizards to beat good teams. In seven games, Arenas scored 60, 23, 30, 54, 31, 39 and 36 points. The Hibachi was cooking and it was the most fun two weeks I’ve had as a sports fan.

Washington Wizards vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Arenas shoots Bryant
Photo by Jeffrey Bottari/NBAE via Getty Images

3) Winner of Gilbert Arenas game against the Chicago Bulls in Game 5 of the 1st round of the 2005 playoffs

The Wizards lost the first two games to the No. 4 seeded Bulls. They came back to win the series 4-2, partially buoyed by a 112-110 clutch victory in Game 5. Larry Hughes was my favorite player and had 33 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals in that game so I was really excited about his performance. When the game ended, Arenas was only 5-14 for the game but decided to ignore the game called for Hughes and opted to shoot a game winner against Kirk Hinrich.

I went crazy when he did that stunt. It wasn’t just that they had won, but how they had won. Coming back to the series gave me a ton of hope for the future of the team. In the end, the following years did not turn out as I had hoped. But at the time, I was on a little cloud.

Washington Wizards vs. Chicago Bulls

Arenas shoots the winner of the match against Hinrich
Photo by Jesse Garrabant/NBAE via Getty Images

4) The Wizards winning the NBA Draft Lottery in 2010

The Wizards had the fifth-best chance of earning the top pick, but they still pulled it off. The franchise was at an all-time low after the Arenas gun incident and the recent death of Abe Pollin. The Wizards badly needed a shot in the arm and earning the right to draft John Wall first overall provided it.

In a draft that also produced DeMarcus Cousins, Gordon Hayward and Paul George, it looks like the Wizards had Evan Turner, who eventually came second, next on their draft board. Imagine a world where Wizards end up with the second pick in this draft and get Turner instead of Wall. This may actually be the darkest timeline.

2010 NBA Draft

John Wall after being selected first in the 2010 NBA Draft
Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

5) The Wizards sweeping the Toronto Raptors in the first round of the 2015 NBA Playoffs

The Wizards won the fourth and final game of this series in convincing fashion, 125-94. This selection might be somewhat controversial in the top five, but after the way they fared in this series, I was so confident that they were going to beat the Atlanta Hawks and make their deepest playoff run of my life. Unfortunately, Wall broke his hand in the first game of the second round and the rest was history. But for a few days, I allowed myself to dream that maybe, just maybe, they might get lucky and sneak through to the NBA Finals.

Toronto Raptors vs. Washington Wizards - Game 4

Nene backs off Jonas Valanciunas
Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Osman Baig, my co-host on this episode, had a somewhat different list and a few inclusions I wish I had thought of. For the explanation of his selections, check out the podcast.

1) 2005 Playoffs against the Chicago Bulls

2) Michael Jordan decided to play for the Wizards (honestly can’t believe I didn’t think to include this)

3) Wizards winning the 2010 lottery

4) Winner of Wall’s Game 6

5) Paul Pierce’s “I Called the Game” Game Winner against the Atlanta Hawks (this was my honorable mention pick)

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