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The Loop

Blowing It

All of Washington, D.C. needs the Heimlich after Tuesday's historic Wizards choke

January 26, 2022

Wizards 66, Clippers 31. That was the score approaching halftime on Tuesday night. The Clippers were bobbing facedown in the water. The Wizards were already making plans for three glorious nights off before Saturday's game against the Grizzlies. Channels were changed. The die-hards went to bed. There wasn’t a basketball-loving soul on earth that didn’t have something better to do. But this is sports, where the only certainty is uncertainty, and 24 minutes later, the Clippers, somehow, against all constraints of mathematics and time, emerged with the win.

Ball don’t lie, you might be thinking. Class > ass. The Clippers are clearly the more talented team. They just had a bad half ... right? Wrong.

Instead the heroics fell to Luke Kennard, a guy there’s a 50/50 chance you’ve never heard of who scored seven points in the last nine seconds. That included this absolutely ludicrous four-point play where literally the only way the Wizards could lose was by fouling Kennard in the act of shooting a three, which of course they did.

Wins are like steaks. You cut them into digestible pieces, chew them thoroughly, and then and only then do you savor them. If you try to jump from step one to step three you’re going to choke, and that’s exactly what the Wizards did on Tuesday. In fact, in the long, sloppy history of chokes, few can compete with the Wizards’ latest debacle. The Falcons at 28-3 immediately springs to mind, especially given the stakes, but this is up there with the best (and by “best” we absolutely mean “worst”) of them. Even Clippers coach Tyronn Lue could barely believe it, jawing at NBA reporters after the game:

You absolutely love to see it … unless you’re a Wizards fan, in which case you really, really don’t.