I arrived at the Verizon Center administrative entrance at 4:30 P.M. but was told to wait patiently in the lobby. Apparently the green stickers that would serve as my credentials were yet to have been made, or delivered to the front desk. Finally, after a half-hour wait, during which I watched a fight breakout at a McDonald's next door to the Verizon Center, I went into the arena and headed for the lower bowl, where I had been chased out of before the last game against Dallas. Instead of making myself too conspicuous by going all the way to the floor seats, I made myself comfortable at the top of the lower level, and took some shots of players warming up with a zoom lens, before heading to the second floor, and then the fourth floor to do the same type of zoom shooting. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I could get quality shots with the zoom lens from a distance that were just as impressive as the photos I had been taking with a regular lens from up close.
After picking up my work camera from the office, I returned to the lower bowl to take fan pictures and was immediately surprised by the number of Brooklyn fans that had turned out. If I had to guess, the arena was at least 40% Nets fans. I figured it probably didn't help the Wizards cause, on this night, that there were so many away fans in the building and a majority of the D.C. fans were more focused on the Washington Redskins upcoming playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. In fact, people had been so captivated by the Redskins in D.C. that after recent Wizards home games, tonight included, fans had left the Verizon Center chanting RGIII!, RGIII!, RGIII!, hailing the rookie QB Robert Griffin III, who has rejuvenated the football team, and guided them to their first NFC East title since 1999.
I was able to shoot my way to 120 shots before the game started, and was at 200 by the half. I was informed by my supervisor that I should avoid drinking alcoholic beverages during the game,as he had just spotted one of my fellow fan photographers boozing it up at the Dewar's club level bar. Booze or no booze, I was on a roll with the pictures, and towards the end of the 4th quarter had eclipsed 300 shots en route to 345 pictures for the night, which was good enough to take off and watch the end of the game from the top of the lower bowl behind the Wizards basket.
|Wizards guard Martell Webster goes to the foul line|
|Martell Webster takes a free throw|
|Wizards guard Jordan Crawford works the pick and roll with forward Nene|
|Jordan Crawford is defended by Nets guard Keith Bogans|
|Nene sets the screen for Crawford|
|Wizards rookie guard Bradley Beal...|
|...dribbles around a screen from center Emeka Okafor|
|Bradley Beal gets ready to shoot two free throws with 9 seconds left in double OT and the Wizards down 113-111|
|Beal ties the game at 113|
Brook Lopez led the Nets with 27 points and 13 rebounds. Deron Williams was also solid, chipping in 24 points and 10 assists, while former Wizard Andray Blatche had a double-double off the bench with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 24 points on 10-19 shooting from the field. Jordan Crawford contributed 23 points off the bench, 12 of them coming from downtown.