NBA Playoffs: Backs against the wall, Washington Wizards are in familiar territory

Washington Wizards Bradley Beal. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Washington Wizards Bradley Beal. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

The Washington Wizards have not put up much of a fight in their series vs. the Philadelphia 76ers. Now one loss away from elimination, their backs are up against the wall, and their playoff lives are on the line. Don’t give up just yet, though. All season, the Wizards have proven it’s foolish to count them out.

In a way, the Wizards have been fighting to save their season since it started. Unfortunately, high expectations did not stop them from losing their first five games and eight of their first ten. To make matters worse, Thomas Bryant tore his ACL in the tenth game of the season. Their struggles weren’t short-lived, either, as they battled through a COVID outbreak in January. Before we knew it, the Wizards were 17-32, and tanking seemed like the only logical option.

It looked like the season was all but over. But it wasn’t. With their backs against the wall, the Wizards evolved into one of the NBA’s most dangerous teams during April and May. Even though they lost rookie starter Deni Avdija to injury towards the end of April, they couldn’t be slowed down.

Heading into game four, the Washington Wizards have their backs against the wall. All season, this is when they have thrived.

Over the final 23 games of the season, the Wizards went 17-6. Just as everyone seemed to have counted them out, they stormed back into the playoff picture. With their fate in their own hands during the final game of the regular season, the Wizards clinched the eighth seed in the play-in tournament thanks to a win over the Charlotte Hornets fueled by a double-digit fourth-quarter comeback.

After the Wizards lost the first play-in game to the Boston Celtics, their season was on the line again. How did they handle it? They trounced the Indiana Pacers by 27 points to punch their first playoff ticket since 2018.

Currently down 0-3 to the 76ers, the Wizards’ season once again feels like it is on the brink of being over. One more loss, and it’s time for Cancun. History certainly is not on their side, either. No team in NBA history has come back from an 0-3 deficit. After losing each of the last two games by at least 25 points, their chances of even stealing one game feel slim. But if there is any team you shouldn’t count out, it is these Washington Wizards.

Throughout the season, they have had their backs against the wall, and all season, they have battled out of it. With less than a month and a half left in the season, the Wizards had a 0.6 percent chance of making the playoffs. But they’re here. They may be down 0-3 in this series, but until they’re not down 0-4. Until then, I wouldn’t count these Wizards out.

If the Wizards do get swept by the 76ers, it will be the first time the Wizards have been swept since 2007 when they lost four straight games to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

3 Wizards that failed to meet expectations this season. dark. Next