2 December 1997. Washington Wizards 95, Seattle Sonics 78 (record: 6-11)
Game leaders: Howard, Murray (18 points), Howard, Webber, Davis (10 rebounds), Strickland (9 assists)
It was no contest after the first quarter. The Wizards came ready to play and took down one of the best teams in the Western Conference in convincing fashion on national TV. The emotion was there with the opening of the MCI Center, and it was obvious that everyone (players and fans, except the Sonics) were having fun.
This may have been the first complete game the Wizards have played all season. They outscored the Sonics in all 4 quarters and got 6 players (5 starters, plus Murray) in double figures scoring. They commited only 11 turnovers, while forcing 19. And they pounded the glass to collect 19 offensive rebounds. In fact, that's how the Wizards stay close early in the game and then used it to pull away late.
Why were people there, though? I was there for the game, but I was also there for the opening of the new arena. And an impressive arena it was. (Review coming soon; see the reviews of others.) While the seats are expensive, the sightlines are good from any part of the arena. If you're ever in town, you must see a game there. It will be well worth it.
Of course, a Wizards win makes it even more worthwhile. It really seems like the team really did not want to be playing at USAir Arena and resulted in their 5-game losing streak at home this season. So let's be glad that they're not there any more and instead playing in the beautiful MCI Center now.