It’s been a long time, but the Washington Wizards are heading into the NBA Playoffs with momentum. After beating depleted Boston Celtics on the road tonight and a Brooklyn Nets loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Wizards have moved back up to the fifth seed. Washington will be matched up against the Chicago Bulls in the first round, a team that they’ve beaten twice in the regular season.
But, here are some game notes from the final contest of the 2013-2014 NBA season.
John Wall looked to assert himself right out of the gate, scoring 13 points and dishing out 5 assists in the first quarter. He finished the game with 15 points and 9 assists in just 28 minutes of playing time. Bradley Beal started the game well, and boy, did he help close out the game for Washington. Whenever it looked like the Celtics were going to come back, Washington looked for Bradley Beal, and he delivered. He’s been terrific for the past few weeks, so it was nice to see him continue to play well. He scored 27 points on 10 of 14 shooting, but he also grabbed 7 rebounds. I’m really, really glad he’s picked up his shooting before the postseason begins.
Marcin Gortat has been solid all season long and he definitely took advantage of Boston’s weak front line. Without Jared Sullinger, Gortat was able to control the paint without a problem, picking up another double-double to close out the season. He scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Nene also chipped in with 12 points on 5-6 shooting off the bench. Needless to say, Kelly Olynyk didn’t stand a chance.
All five starters scored in double digits, but Trevor Booker was perhaps the most impressive, as he scored 20 points in just 26 minutes. He’s taking advantage of what the defense is giving him and his new-found ability to knock down the open 15 foot jumper has really helped Washington space the floor. Trevor Ariza scored 13 of his own points, including a few Carmelo Anthony-like fall away shots from the mid-range area. Trevor Ariza, Carmelo Anthony-like? Surprising, eh?
Washington is now locked into fifth seed and will play against the Chicago Bulls in the first round, a series I think most Wizards fans preferred, given Chicago’s note worthy struggles on the offensive side of the floor. For the first time in a very, very long time, Washington’s season will continue after the final game of the regular season. It’s definitely a sweet moment.
We’ll continue to bring coverage and insight for the NBA Playoffs. Stay tuned.