My trip to shootaround seemed to be a comedy of errors this morning, and as a result, I arrived just in time for everyone to leave the practice court. To start, the DC Metro is doing "scheduled maintenance" this weekend, which translates to "trains run every 45 minutes". So I got to the Verizon Center late, and then in my haste to run up the escalators out of the station, I fell on my face and skinned my finger. It was bleeding, and I looked like an ass. Go figure.
I finally got to the press entrance (I actually know my way around this arena from covering the Washington Mystics this summer) and realized that the shootaround was occurring simultaneously with the Georgetown/Syracuse basketball game. I asked the security guard what was up, and he waved me on in. No problem, I think. Until I realize that the other basketball game is going on at THAT MOMENT, so that means that the Mavericks were probably on the practice court. That was one thing I couldn't remember where to find, but when I stopped to ask another nice security lady, she realized I didn't have a press pass and stopped me. SOOOO I had to wait until they could figure out whether or not I was allowed to be there.
Eventually I got a hold of Scott, the PR guy who fills in when Sarah is busy (or something), and he sent the Mavericks' head of security to vouch for me. Take that, bitches. When I got there, I wished Mark Followill a happy birthday (you should all do the same... @MFollowill) and said what's up to EKS, and they politely informed me that Rick Carlisle had already spoken, and everyone was finishing up. EFF.
So I watched for a bit as the remaining guys (Brendan Haywood) shot around a little to the soothing tunes of Young Jeezy, and then wandered over to Dirk Nowitzki, who told us all that 1. he's happy with this squad now that Rodrigue Beaubois is back, 2. he attributes the multiple players in double figures to having a leader like Jason Kidd on the floor (I couldn't agree more) and he is pleased with the balanced scoring, and 3. John Wall is a one-man fastbreak unit, which we all know. Then someone started talking to him in German and the English portion of the interview was over and done with. Scheisse.
After stealing EKS's recording device (ok, fine, he let me borrow it) I listened to what Rick had to say, and it was more of the same. Basically, the Wizards have a terrible record, but they're not a terrible basketball team. They've been in every game they've played, and the Mavericks can't take that for granted. Yadda yadda yadda. Then I said my farewells and sat for another hour on the metro. Side note: I will be driving to the game tonight.
The game is at 7:00pm CT. Tune in, and I'll let you know if I'm seated within TV-viewing range.