The Valentine's Day edition of Chain Reactions is feeling the love for many of the local teams. First and foremost, we're feeling the love for the Wizards after they scored with their first road win. Also, there is plenty of love around the Georgetown Hoyas and George Mason Patriots these days, as they continue to pad their NCAA Tournament credentials en route to March.
Then again, it seems appropriate on Valentine's Day to ask where the Capitals' heart went after a horrendous loss to the Los Angeles Kings? Finally, the Maryland Terps will need to show more than just heart if they want to be in the Big Dance in March.
Wizards Are No Longer Road Kill
The Wizards will not make history and that's a good thing. Sure, the Wizards are still really bad away from Verizon Center, but not historically bad following their 115-100 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. The win improves the Wizards road mark to 1-25. The "1" though means they will not match or beat the 1992-93 Dallas Mavericks, who started the season 0 for 29.
"It just feel like we got a whole mountain off our back," Andray Blatche told Comcast's Chris Miller on TV after the game.
The Wizards played with great energy and purpose from the start as they ran the Cavaliers off the home court. The question is, can they play with the same intensity Wednesday against a much better opponent when they play at Orlando?
Brandon Banks Escapes Serious Injury
In his rookie season, Redskins main return man Brandon Banks showed the ability to make defenders miss. Those same skills may have served him well during an early Saturday morning incident outside of a D.C. nightclub. Banks was involved in an altercation and suffered superficial knife wounds.
"He's recovering well, there's no damage and no residual effects, so it looks like he's going to make a full recovery and be just fine," the agent, James Gould, said in a phone interview. "Brandon's friend also is recovering. He was talking today, and also is expected to make a full recovery."
Capitals Need a Cardiologist
The Caps flatlined on the home ice against the Los Angeles Kings in a 4-1 loss Saturday at Verizon Center. The effort again was an issue, which begs the question: does this talented Capitals team have enough heart? They sure have yet to show it on a consistent basis. They have not won more than three-straight since December 1, and the Caps players know it is getting close to put up or shut up time as they start a five-game-in-nine-day road trip tonight at Phoenix.
"We have to come together right now," defenseman Mike Green said. "We have our system in place, we know what to do, but everybody has to be accountable for everything that goes on here. We have no reason to panic yet, but we aren't comfortable. . . . We're running out of time. There isn't any more time left to waste, for us to figure this out."
The Caps will ultimately be judged on their postseason performance, and there is still 26 games to play, which could be good or bad depending on how they play. The Capitals start the week tied for fifth place in the Eastern Conference with Montreal (who has played one fewer game), and are only eight points in front of ninth-place Atlanta.
Hottest Team in Town Resides in Fairfax
George Mason has now ripped off 11-straight wins after Saturday's 82-68 win over James Madison at Patriot Center, where they are undefeated this season. The Patriots are alone atop the CAA as well. How good could this team be?
"They're dynamite. They're the class of the league," Dukes Coach Matt Brady said of the Patriots. "They're a team that can be really dangerous in March, and I don't mean in Richmond [for the CAA tournament]. I mean on the national landscape. There's no reason why this team can't make a lot of noise."
Hoyas Win 20th of Season
It was a rough start for the Hoyas at home Sunday, as they lost star Austin Freeman late in the first half with an ankle injury. However, he returned in the second half and the Hoyas rallied from behind led by Chris Wright, who had 20 points in the 69-60 win over Marquette. It was the classic trap game after Syracuse and before Connecticut.
The Hoyas are now in sole possession of third place in the conference and have their longest winning streak in the Big East since 2006-07. The Hoyas are a long shot for a one seed, but a two seed is definitely in play still if they handle their business.
Maryland Continues Their Road to the NIT
Let's be real here. It will take an amazing finish for Maryland to be an at-large team in the NCAA Tournament. They likely need an out of body experience to do enough the rest of the regular season. Of course, they can hang their hopes on winning the ACC, but the Terps are just 2-7 v. the RPI Top 50.
Now, if this year's selection committee is rewarding teams for close losses, then the Terps are in. They have seven single-digit losses after Saturday's 76-72 loss at Boston College, who earned the season sweep of the Terps.
"We've been involved in a lot of these this year where we've been close and haven't been able to get over the top," Gary Williams said.