When the lights went down and the music went up and Wizards announcer Ralph Wesley began his player introductions, it was clear that Verizon Center had become the new home of the … Miami Heat.
And Wizards swingman Martell Webster isn’t happy about it.
“Did you guys not hear the [player] announcements?” Webster asked reporters after the Wizards’ remarkable – some might say miraculous – 105-101 win over the Heat Tuesday night in front of 17,761 fans.
“Tonight was an away game and we won. We won on the road at home. That’s crazy.”
Though more than a thousand miles separate D.C. from Miami, Tuesday night’s crowd was decidedly in the Heat’s favor. LeBron James received the biggest ovation during pre-game introductions and every basket scored by the Heat was punctuated with cheers.
It was enough to curl the hair on Webster’s chin.
“I mean, it’s horrible,” said Webster, who celebrated his 26th birthday with 13 points, seven of them in the final quarter. “It’s a horrible feeling. You want your fans to be loyal. You want to see more red, white and blue jerseys out there in the stands than you do the away team.”
Having played in Portland and Minnesota, Webster said he understands what it’s like to play home games in front of fans cheering for the visiting team. He just doesn’t like it. And he wants to see it change for the 2-13 Wizards.
“Rome wasn’t built in a day,” he said. “We’ve got to continue to win. The next time Boston comes in here, there will be green jerseys in here. When Chicago comes in, there will be red jerseys.
“We have to take advantage of those games and that builds loyalty with your fans.
When we do that, more times than not there will be more noise when our names are called instead of theirs.”
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