The past two weeks for sports in the district have had some big moments. The Washington Football Team is providing excitement for their fans, and the Washington Wizards gave their fans some heartbreak but hope in their new start.
The Washington Football Team is in the midst of a four-game winning streak, including a win over the previously undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers.
Coming into the matchup Pittsburgh was 11-0 and many didn’t expect it to be a close game. But that wasn’t the case. The Football Team escaped with a 23-17 win over previously undefeated Pittsburgh to move to 5-7 on the year. Alex Smith managed the game on offense throwing for 296 yards along with a touchdown pass to tight end Logan Thomas. Washington’s young, talented defense was also in full effect as they made a game sealing play just before the two minute warning on Pittsburgh’s final drive of the game. Steelers Quarterback Ben Roethilsberger pass was tipped and fell into the hands of Washington linebacker Johnathan Bostic ending any chance the Steelers had to come back.
In the aftermath of this game the Washington showed they are not pushovers with their ferocious defense and with Alex Smith starting to become consistent again in his season back from a major injury they could make some noise down the stretch of the season. With the win Washington also stayed tied for first place with the New York Giants.
The Washington Football Team wasn’t the only team that made national headlines. In what has already been a crazy NBA offseason, Washington Wizards made a blockbuster trade on the eve of training camp to send five-time All-Star point guard John Wall and a 2023 First Round pick to the Houston Rockets for 2017 MVP, nine-time All Star point guard Russell Westbrook. Both teams point guards were disgruntled with their teams current situation and wanted a change. This move had been speculated for a while ever since the NBA Draft as there were rumors swirling about Westbrook’s former co-star James Harden having a want to be traded to the Brooklyn Nets to team up with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
In Westbrook the Wizards are getting a former MVP who averaged 27.2 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists in 57 games last season in Houston. He reunited with his former head coach in Oklahoma City, Scott Brooks.
In my opinion he’s one of the most disrespected players in the league and should be a great fit in the backcourt with Wizards star shooting guard Bradley Beal, who lead the league in scoring last year. He will look to help Beal and Washington’s young roster back to the playoffs for the first time since 2018 after they’ve missed in the last two seasons.
Westbrook and Beal already rank as a Top 5 backcourt in the league even though they haven’t played a game yet. This move should help the Wizards be able to compete in a tough Eastern Conference that includes Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant’s Brooklyn Nets squad, reigning two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo , and the defending Eastern Conference champions Miami Heat led by Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.
However, it was a bittersweet moment as John Wall is a DC icon because of his heroics on the court as well as the charity work he’s done in the community as well. He was drafted first overall out of Kentucky by the Wizards in the 2010 Draft and led Washington to the Playoffs four times. He’s had many injury setbacks because of an Achilles injury suffered in 2018 that’s forced him to miss the rest of the 2019 season and the entirety of the 2019-2020 season. In his last All-Star year in 2017-2018 he averaged 19.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and 9.4 assists in 41 games. His most memorable moment in a Wizards jersey will forever be the game winner he made in Game 6 of the 2017 Eastern Conference Finals.
Wall has looked great in the videos of his workouts and I expect him to return to All-Star form even though he hasn’t played in two years. With Wall and Harden, expect the Rockets to try to keep contending as they’ve added other pieces during the off season. He will also be reuniting with former four-time All-Star Boogie Cousins who signed with the Rockets in the Offseason. Wall and Cousins played for the very talented 2009-2010 University of Kentucky Wildcats team that went to the Elite Eight in that year’s NCAA tournament. The trade starts a new chapter for both organizations with Westbrook in Washington and Wall in Houston. The teams will meet twice this season on January 26 in Houston and February 15 in DC. A link to the Wizards 2020-2021 season can be found here. The Wizards officially open up their season on Next Wednesday, December 23rd at home against Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons Philadelphia 76ers.