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NBA Washington Wizards

5 Keys to Success in NBA Playoffs for Washington Wizards

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Washington Wizards: 5 Keys To Playoff Success

Derick E. Hingle - USA TODAY Sports

This season, the Washington Wizards will be making the playoffs for the first time since 2007-08. The team is currently 32-29 and sitting at fifth place in the Eastern Conference. The Wizards have won seven out of their last ten games and have looked great since the season resumed after All-Star break.

The Wizards still have a chance to move up the ranks and earn the No. 3 seed or No. 4 seed, and there is a very high chance that Washington could find itself in a winnable first round matchup. This season is a very important one in Washington's rebuilding phase. The team's postseason success will determine many of the franchise's future decisions. The Wizards have several players with expiring contracts, such as Trevor Ariza and Marcin Gortat. Also, head coach Randy Wittman is in the final year of his contract. By making the playoffs, John Wall will have delivered on his promise to the fans, which is a huge step in his career with the Wizards. Washington is becoming a team you can count on to deliver. It will be very interesting to see what happens this postseason.

Making the playoffs has been Washington's main objective since the start of the season. Now with the playoffs in sight, the team is beginning to prepare for how to have a successful playoff run. Let's take a look at five keys to a successful playoff run for Washington.

Jack Bolesta is a Washington Wizards writer for Follow him on Twitter, "Like" him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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5. End Of Game Production

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The Wizards will need to be productive down the stretch if they want to win some playoff games. Poor fourth quarter performances have caused many difficulties for the Wizards this season. Washington is also only 3-6 in games that have gone into overtime. If Washington struggles at the end of the game, it will result in an early playoff exit. The team will need to rely heavily on their frontcourt to have consistent productive performances, both defensively and offensively. To achieve playoff success, the team needs to make sure their starters and bench players are able to consistently put up points down the stretch. Washington has improved offensively, averaging 100.7 points per game. Washington must continue to improve offensively and execute in close games.

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4. Trevor Ariza

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For those who don't know, Trevor Ariza has an NBA Championship ring. He won with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009. In fact, his playoff performance was a big reason for the Lakers' success that year.

Ariza has been a vital piece to Washington offense this season. He is a great sharpshooter and can kill teams on the perimeter if left alone. He will need to be on fire during the playoffs if Washington wants to make any noise. He is currently shooting 45 percent from the field and 43 percent from behind the arc. Ariza has shown problems with consistency, but he still averages fairly decent numbers. He is currently averaging 14.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.9 steals per game. To find playoff success, the Wizards will need a consistent performance from Ariza during the playoffs.

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3. Nene's Injury and Return

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Nene Hilario has been an important piece in Washington since being traded to the team by the Denver Nuggets. This season, Nene and Marcin Gortat have grown into a dominating duo on the block.

Nene is currently sidelined with an MCL sprain. Fortunately, he is expected to return for the playoffs. Nene has been injury-prone throughout his career, so it is important that Washington monitors his health and does not rush his return. Nene's offensive and defensive production is a very important key to Washington's success.

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2. Bench Production

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One of the most important keys to Washington's playoff success is their bench production. The Wizards have had rotational problems throughout the season. Washington has been using a short rotation for the majority of this season which makes it imperative that every bench player produces nightly.

Washington's bench currently averages 24.4 points per game, which is currently the second worst in the league. The Wizards will need bench production to get past the first round; without it the team could be in danger and face an early elimination. Andre Miller, Kevin Seraphin, Martell Webster and Al Harrington are all very important bench pieces. Washington needs to make sure these guys are healthy and productive come playoffs.

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1. Backcourt Success

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John Wall and Bradley Beal have been the heart and soul of the Washington Wizards all season long. As a backcourt, the duo is currently more productive than their opponents on a nightly basis. Together they average 43 points, 15 assists, 11.3 rebounds and 4.2 steals per game. Washington has played played 61 games so far this season. Out of those games, the Wizards have won 32 of those backcourt matchups. When Washington wins the backcourt matchup, the team is 24-8. It is no secret that Washington's success is in the hands of Beal and Wall. Now with the addition of Andre Miller, Washington's backcourt rotation is even stronger and prepared to make a playoff run.