The Wizards came up short in their quest for spot in the 2017 NBA Eastern Conference Finals, falling to the Boston Celtics thanks to a 115-110 Game 7 loss in Boston on Monday night.
It was not the end result the team was hoping for, but all things considered, the journey sure was fun.
Washington, D.C. is, after all, a snake bitten city when it comes to playoff success.
The Capitals, Nationals, Redskins and Wizards have combined to appear in 16 winner-take-all playoff games over the past decade and have a 3-13 record in those games (via Dan Steinberg).
Look no further than CSN's JP Finlay, who put it so eloquently following the Game 7 Loss:
We're a special kind of screwed up in DC that we're complaining about how long it's been since a semifinal. Not a title. Not a title chance.— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) May 16, 2017
But if you forget about the last game of the season — which is difficult to do, admittedly — the Wizards season was fun.
A lot of fun.
John Wall was angry all season. Well, not actually angry, but he played angry. He played ticked off. He played like he was out to prove doubters wrong. He got ejected, hit buzzer-beaters, dazzled fans with world-class play making and cemented himself as perhaps the greatest shot-blocking guard in NBA history.
Go back just a few days, to Friday night. There was John Wall, perched on top of the scorer's table, soaking in the applause from the Verizon Center faithful after hitting a deep 3-pointer with under five seconds left to force the decisive Monday game.
That was fun, regardless of the Game 7 result.
But not everyone sees it that way. Many used the Wizards' loss in Game 7 to circle back to Wall's celebration in Game 6. Wall should have waited until a Game 7 victory to celebrate on top of the scorer's table.
The argument that Wall's Game 6 post game theatrics should have been saved for something truly important is a valid one — as are most arguments— but reeks of a strong "Act like you've been there before" odor.
Here's the problem. Wall and the Wizards have not been here before.
In fact, I would argue that 1) Hitting a game-winning 3-pointer at home to force a Game 7 is truly important, 2) Washington, D.C. doesn't have a strong enough history of playoff success to pocket theatrics until it's really important, and 3) It was fun.
The Wizards entered the season not knowing if superstar guard John Wall would be healthy for the start of the season. The team limped out of the gate, starting the season with a 2-9 record. Things looked bleak, to say the least.
The team finished 49-33, just a game shy of the 50 wins plateau and a chance to make the entertaining Smith dance on television. Yes, Jason Smith promised to dance on CSN if the Wizards won 50 games. That was fun.
When you look at how the season started for the Wizards and then look at where the Wizards finished, it's hard to nitpick Wall for getting up on a table and celebrating with the city.
Would a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals have cemented his status as a "superstar?" Perhaps.
But it's important to live in the moment. It's why the Wizards held a "funeral game" in late January. It's why the Wizards tried to make every game a statement game, in November, March and May.
The Wizards may have fallen short of their goals, but if you're from Washington, D.C., it's something your a bit familiar with.
They made the journey fun.
A lot of fun.