Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Last (Home) Game

The last time the Philadelphia 76ers visited the Verizon Center on March 3rd, the Washington Wizards escaped with a 90-87 victory. The two teams had split the season series up until tonight, in what was the final home game of the season for the Wizards.

John Wall signs an autograph for an admirer
Kevin Seraphin signs an autograph for some young fans
It was a festive evening at the Verizon Center, as the Wizards celebrated the last game of the season on their home floor with fan appreciation night. There were plenty of free giveaways, including game-worn jerseys at the end of the game. Most of the merchandise at the team stores was marked down anywhere from 40 to 60% off. It was bittersweet watching the arena shut down for the season, though there was a sense of optimism that next year's Wizards team will be much better than this one if they can stay healthy.

Sixers center Spencer Hawes boxes out Wizards forward Kevin Seraphin
Wizards forward Trevor Booker drives the lane
Booker finishes with the one-handed slam dunk
Kevin Seraphin posts up on Spencer Hawes
Kevin Seraphin takes it up against Spencer Hawes
Seraphin finishes with the hook shot
John Wall in transition
Trevor Booker glides towards the basket for the rebound
Wizards guard A.J. Price drives on Sixers guard Justin Holiday
John Wall drives the lane
Justin Holiday reaches in against Kevin Seraphin
Wizards forward Jan Vesely and Sixers center Spencer Hawes anticipate the rebound
John Wall drives against Spencer Hawes
Wall goes up for the layup against Hawes
The Sixers won the game by a score of 97-86 behind 22 points from Jrue Holiday, but the night belonged to Wizards fans. This was their last opportunity to see this team, one which showed great resilience, bouncing back from an abysmal 5-28 start, to be one of the more competitive teams in the league, and holding down 11th place in the Eastern Conference. Much of the credit for the resurgence of the team was due to the return of John Wall in January. Wall scored 24 points and 7 assists tonight.

As fans filed out of the Verizon Center for the final time this season, they were handed a poster that features all of the players on this year's team. Less than a week ago, the Wizards organization had honored the 1978 champion Washington Bullets. Given the performance of this year's squad in the second half of the season, it doesn't seem too far fetched to think that another title could be on the horizon. Hopefully, as fan photographer, I'll be there to capture every moment, and every memory along the way.