Washington Wizards beat Charlotte Hornets: An NBA game in photos


Alysa Suleiman

The Capital One Arena bustles with energy 30 minutes before the game between the Washington Wizards and Charlotte Hornets.

by Anna Vazhaeparambil and Muthu Panchanatham

An overwhelming rush of color and noise filled the Capital One Arena on Friday night, such a great onslaught to the senses that it was difficult to take in everything that was happening. Bright lights from several projecting screens illuminated the court below, as they flashed the names of both advertisers and players. The loud smacks of basketballs and sneakers against the wooden floor were barely drowned out by the cheers of the crowd who had come to watch the two teams warm up before the match up later in the evening.

Just one hour before the game between the Washington Wizards (5-8) and the Charlotte Hornets (6-11) was scheduled to begin, this arena was organized chaos. The athletes on the court were doing a combination of different drills, whether that be practicing their shots, running dribbling drills, or stretching out their muscles with bands. On the bleachers, young Wizards fans were clamoring to get autographs and take photos with their favorite players, who were signing jerseys and merchandise as they walked back to the locker room. And by the court sidelines, the TV crew talks to statisticians and announcers as they set up their gear and equipment.

With the two teams having both experienced defensive struggles this season, the game was expected to be a very close one. In a conference with journalists beforehand, Wizards radio play-by-play voice Dave Johnson, who has been working with team for twenty two years, commentated on the similar trends from past seasons and also new changes recently made.

“We still have a problem playing defense, where we score a lot of points but we also give up a lot of points,” he admitted in an interview with Harker Aquila. “But we also now have the second best bench in the league and some new faces.”

Wizards play-by-play commentator Justin Kutcher also noted that while he tries to maintain a level of professionalism and not show any bias for a team when announcing, especially in evenly-matched games like this one, broadcasters do inevitably grow attached to their players and want them to succeed.

“[I] hope you can hear one of us make a call saying the wizards won,” he said as he concluded the interview.

Muthu Panchanatham
Wizards play-by-play commentator Justin Kutcher and radio play-by-play voice Dave Johnson speak to journalists prior to the game about the team and their experiences working in sports journalism.

Kutcher’s wish turned out to be true a couple hours later, when the Wizards defeated the Hornets 125-118 after a comeback that had the whole crowd on their feet. Although the Hornets were in the lead for the majority of the time, the Wizards were always close behind and were finally able to pull ahead in the last few minutes of the fourth quarter, overcoming a 13-point deficit.

As attendees streamed out of the stadium following the victory for their home team, hollers were thrown up into the air, as fans celebrated together. With this most recent win, the Wizards are in position to qualify for the eighth place spot in the NBA’s Eastern Conference, which they were unable to do the previous year.