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Kelly Dwyer

Flip Saunders hears Wizards fans clap for the wrong thing

Kelly Dwyer
Ball Don't Lie

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The Cleveland Cavaliers were kind enough to let the Washington Wizards end their 25-game road losing streak on Sunday, but that was a day after the Wiz endured a sound thrashing at the hands of those vaunted San Antonio Spurs. San Antonio is in the midst of a 24-day road jaunt of its own, knocked out of its home arena by an actual rodeo, but that didn't stop the Spurs from downing Washington by 24 points.

It could have been worse. At one point, the Wizards were down by 34. But coach Flip Saunders credits the team's buoyant fans for cheering some life back into their moribund team.

Except that they weren't actually cheering for the Wizards, late in the loss. They were cheering for chicken. Delicious, Chick fil-A chicken. I'll let Dan Steinberg from the D.C. Sports Bog explain:

This is how Flip Saunders began his press conference after the Wizards got stomped at home by the Spurs:

"Words can't totally explain how I feel. Disappointed. Embarrassed. And I feel bad from a fan standpoint. Realistically, I look, there's 8:40 left in the game, we were down 36, and our fans were cheering for them to miss shots from the free-throw line, which says a little bit something about how your fans are trying their hardest to do whatever they can, and just want to see you go out and just play."

It's a touching sentiment. Except, as Kyle Weidie from Truth About It pointed out on Twitter, there was a different reason the fans were cheering for Gary Neal(notes) to miss that free throw with 8:41 left, when the Wizards actually trailed by 34 points. At some point late in games, the Wizards game ops crew runs a promotion after the opponents miss a free throw. If the player misses the second free throw, everyone in the stands gets some sort of discount swag from Chick-fil-A.

Nobody comes off well, here. Saunders looks a little out of touch, though you can't blame his sandwich half-full attitude. The fans actually lost out on the discounted chicken, because Gary Neal hit that free throw. And the fans don't look so hot for saving their biggest cheers of the night (as is usually the case, league-wide, with these sorts of promotions) for some cheap food.

In the end, though, it is Chick-fil-A. It has a grilled sandwich that comes on whole wheat bread with real lettuce, and it is delicious. And even though it leaves me wanting on Sundays, when I need them the most, I will never stray. It didn't pay for this paragraph, but it hardly matters. Because Chick-fil-A is the business, even if I don't always agree with its business.

And Wizards fans? Flip Saunders is going to be doubly depressed after this, so make sure to try and randomly cheer for a missed free throw during your team's next blowout. Even if the miss won't make your next day's lunch any cheaper.

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