A ticket to the 2014 NBA playoffs? Book it. With the 118-92 blow out of the Celtics, the Wizards clinched their first playoff appearance since 2008. The 26 point difference is the Wizards largest margin of victory this season. The game was never in doubt in the second half as Washington led by as many as 33 in cruising to victory over Boston. The third quarter was where Washington did the most damage, opening the quarter on a 9-2 run and outscoring Boston by 16. The Wizards simply shot the lights out on the Celtics, shooting 62.5%, by far their season-high. They were also 10/19 from three and 18/21 from the stripe. On the other side, the Wizards held the Celtics to under 40%. Washington also controlled the boards, outrebounding the Celtics 41-29. The only spot the Wizards struggled was in protecting the basketball as they committed 21 turnovers. But now we're quibbling.
It was a balanced scoring attack from the Wizards, with six finishing in double figures and 11 getting on the score sheet in general. Fitting for a playoff clinching night. Gortat and Beal led the attack, both with incredibly efficient performances. Gortat scored 22 on 10/13 shooting while Beal had 19 on 7/8 shooting. Harrington provided the fireworks early in the fourth quarter, as he scored 11 straight points for the Wizards to open the final frame and finished with 12. Wall got his 27th double-double of the campaign, finishing with 13 points and 10 assists. Ariza added 18 on 7/13 shooting and Booker had 10 on 3/5. Even Otto Porter got into the act, scoring nine points on a perfect 3/3 night.
Jared Sullinger came off the bench to have a huge night in the loss, scoring a game-high 25 points. Rondo customarily filled up the box scored, going for 13 points, six assists and seven rebounds.
With the playoffs secured, it's time to fight for seeding. The Wizards will start Friday night at Madison Square Garden. - Jacob Raim
Looking to book their first trip to the postseason since 2007-2008, the Wizards have started out on the right foot tonight, as they lead the Boston Celtics 57-46 at the break.
Marcin Gortat led the way in the first half, as he scored 16 points on 7-10 shooting and added seven rebounds. John Wall posted 11 points, six assists, and two steals.
Rajon Rondo led the Celtics with 13 points, five rebounds, and five assists.
The Wizards had their way with the Celtics in the first five minutes of the game, outscoring the Celtics 19-4 in that span. They thoroughly outworked their opponents on the inside, scoring 14 points off of uncontested dunks and easy offensive rebounds.
Rondo heated up at the end of the first quarter to push the Celtics back into the contest, scoring 10 of his first half points to cut the deficit to 29-21.
Washington had the hot hand in the first 24 minutes, shooting at a 61 percent clip as they made 25 of their 41 shots, including a fantastic 13 for 18 line in the second quarter. They managed to hold Boston to 40.5 percent from the field and 8.3 percent from beyond the arc.
The Wizards have committed 10 turnovers so far, which have led to easy fast break dunks for the Celtics. For the Verizon Center to celebrate a playoff berth tonight, the Wiz will have to take better care of the ball in the second half.
Checking in from Verizon Center as we get set for a 7pm #WizCeltics tip.
Tonight presents another opportunity for the Wizards to do something they haven't done in six years; clinch a playoff spot.
That will be the lead storyline heading into this one, even though the seeding in the East is probably more important than the inevitable playoff berth becoming official. Monday night's loss in Charlotte gave the Bobcats life for the six seed and they now trail by just two games. The Wizards and Bobcats will play once more next Wednesday here at Verizon Center, which could end up being the decider between the six and seven seeds.
But, we have some time to talk about seeds and matchups and can do that for the next two weeks. Tonight, the focus is just on winning this game against a pesky Celtics bunch that actually beat the Wizards here at Verizon Center back in January.
Mystics head coach Mike Thibault talked about the matchup with Casey Phillips at shootaround this morning:
For the Celtics, Avery Bradley will be a gametime decision with an ankle injury, but for what it's worth he did take part in morning shootaround.
He missed the last #WizCeltics game here at Verizon Center along with the Celtics' star point guard Rajon Rondo. Bradley may be questionable tonight, but Rondo will be back in the lineup and this will be the first time the Wizards see him this year. Randy Wittman talked about facing a Rondo led Celtics squad tonight and why a team that can play loose like Boston can be dangerous down the stretch:
The Wizards need to get back to playing the way they did in the first half of Monday night's game in Charlotte, which included a second quarter that saw them score 40 points and shoot 75%. The ball was swinging all over the place and Wittman has hammered home the point that when the ball moves, the team wins. Bradley Beal said the key tonight is to jump on the Celtics early and not to let them gain any confidence or give them a chance to win:
This Celtics team is just 8-28 away from home and have lost 10 straight road games, but don't tell that to the Wizards because they know they can't overlook anyone at this point of the season. With every win critical as teams battle for seeding, the Wizards are hopeful to punch their ticket to the Eastern Conference playoffs with a victory tonight.