After mistakenly calling a buzzer-beating air ball by Trevor Ariza a "dagger," nobody will ever fault Washington Wizards announcer Steve Buckhantz for a lack of enthusiasm.
His eyesight, however, may be rightly called into question:
ok what the #wizards announcing crew just called Ariza's shot a game winner, not seeing it was an airball. Ugh!— gary washburn (@GwashNBAGlobe) February 28, 2013
Buckhantz deserves a little slack here, as the shot literally caught "all net." Unfortunately, that was because it sailed under the rim by a good six inches, rippling the twine in a cruel parody of a swish.
Had Ariza knocked the shot down, it would have capped Washington's furious fourth-quarter comeback. After trailing by 14 to start the game's final period, the Wizards roared back, threatening to steal one from the struggling Pistons.
On a personal level, Ariza has come a long way over the last couple of days:
Trevor Ariza just hit the cameraman in the head with a pass. In Ariza's defense, he was open... #wizards— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) February 26, 2013
And Detroit did its best down the stretch to let the game get painfully close. The enthusiasm was palpable—if you put any stock in a team's official Twitter feed:
Will Bynum committed a clear-path foul with 12 seconds left that gave Ariza two foul shots and allowed Washington to retain possession. After waiting far too long to take a shot, Ariza's attempt at the buzzer fell short.
The final play was something of a microcosm of Washington's season: It looked good, but ultimately wasn't quite enough.
The Wizards have been a .500 team for nearly two months now, and they're positioned nicely for a playoff run next year. But they'll have to start finishing off such games if they hope to eventually be taken seriously.
One thing that could help in Washington's struggle toward mediocrity is a little positive thinking. If the team's announcing crew is any indication, they're on the right path.
Dagger, indeed, Mr. Buckhantz. Dagger, indeed.