The Washington Wizards have clinched a playoff spot for the first time since 2008. This is a huge step for the Wizards, as it marks a turning point in Washington’s organization and future. Washington’s 118-92 win over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night gives the team their 26th playoff appearance in franchise history, and a big chance to accomplish greater things.
Washington has played great since All-Star break, and the team completely dominated Boston on Wednesday. As a team, Washington shot 63 percent from field goal range and 53 percent from behind the arc. Down the stretch, Washington’s shooting has shown sound improvement. The Wizards have shot an average of 47 percent in their last fives games,which is slightly better than their season average. Bradley Beal put on a near perfect performance Wednesday night. He had 19 points and shot 88 percent from the field. Marcin Gortat also had a hard time missing; he had 22 points and shot 77 percent from field goal range.
In the most meaningful game of his career, John Wall had his 27th double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 assists. Wall was picked first overall by the Wizards in the 2010 draft, and was recently given a max contract. This season, Wall has proven that he is a motivated leader and that Washington can build a team around him. Most importantly, Wall has proven that he knows how to win in the NBA this season.
All of Washington’s players have been playing consistently well as of late. Against Boston, all starters scored 10 or more points. Washington’s bench players, Andre Miller, Drew Gooden, Al Harrington and Martell Webster, have continued to provide off the bench production and sparks. Per game, Washington’s bench is averaging 25.8 points, 12.9 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 2.3 steals. Their consistent performance is a bright sign now that the Wizards are in the playoffs. With the expected return of Nene Hilario from injury, Washington’s bench is going to be deeper and stronger.
This season, the Wizards have shown that they can compete with the best, and Washington’s most recent performance from their starters and bench are positive signs that the franchise has a chance at winning a first round matchup. This is a huge step for the Washington franchise, but the team must continue to stay focused; things can only get better from here Washington fans.