What an amazing night! The Wizards in the 2nd round of the playoffs for the first time since the turn of the century (just kidding but it sure does feel that way). Excitement was in the air and even the retro-Bullets jerseys were out! I hopped on the Wiz-bandwagon after their first round victory and the team is actually fun to watch.
My friends and I met up at Clyde’s (Gallery Place) around 5 for dinner/drinks before the 8 PM tipoff time. The wings are highly recommended and nice vibe. We started our walk to Verizon center around 7:30 and were in our seats by 7:45. The atmosphere was incredible! After the Pacers introduction (with a lot of booing of course), our Wizards were called out with pyrotechnics and a light show. The music was loud, the crowd going crazy, and we were getting psyched about a Wiz victory.
What I noticed throughout the game was the production. Every timeout seemed to have some sort of theatrics, contest, and event for the brief 1-2 minutes before basketball started again. The two MCs do a great job of getting the crowed revved up and coordinating all the activities. The Wizard Girls dance number is quite impressive and I didn’t recall anyone off the synchronized routine. The giveaways are an extra bonus (my friend actually caught a T-shirt). The final routine consists of 3 guys in ties along with the Wiz mascot performing dunk routines together which fired up the crowd. The timing between all 4 is something to see. I also like how they pan the camera to showcase the most hardcore fans. They’ll be dancing, singing, jumping, and just thoroughly engaged in the game.
Unfortunately, the Wizards got steamrolled in the second half and couldn’t score no matter how close they were to the basket. Not meant to be on this night. The fans started exiting with 4 minutes remaining but the mood wasn’t all that bad. It was only Game 3 and the Wiz still have a shot to get to the next round.
We got a surprise heading to the metro with a jazz band playing right outside Verizon Center. I would say around 50 people gathered around dancing and enjoying the music. I guess they didn’t know the Wizards got crushed but it was fun listening and seeing all the action.
All in all, a great night at Verizon Center watching an NBA playoff game. The event is definitely well done and even from our nosebleed seats, we were able to see most of the court quite well. Encourage all Wizard or just general basketball fans to experience a live game! Quite worth it!!