The Washington Wizards defeated the visiting Milwaukee Bucks 104-91 Saturday, as Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal scored a game-high 26 points on 12-for-22 from the floor. With two games left to go before the end of the regular season, Beal is scoring an above-average 18.4 points in his last five. The best news for the Playoffs-bound Wizards? Forward-center Nene is back, and ready to contribute.
"He was a little stiff, it did not make any sense to throw him out there," said Wizards Head Coach Randy Wittman after the win, regarding why he decided to rest Nene. The game prior, Nene delivered a 17-point performance against the Orlando Magic, just two games into his return following a 21-game absence (knee). "We aired on being cautious and giving him another day and tomorrow, so he will be ready on Monday."
Monday the Wizards will host the 2013 Champion Miami Heat (7:00 p.m. ET, CSN), then Wednesday Washington will close their season by visiting the Boston Celtics (8:00 p.m. ET, CSN). Now that the Eastern Conference is pretty much locked up, there is room for a lot of movement due to these last two games. Washington could end up facing LeBron James and the Heat in Round 1, as they did in 2008 when the Wizards faced James as a Cleveland Cavalier. They are currently matched against the Chicago Bulls.
"Whoever we are going to play is going to be a tough matchup," said Coach Wittman, regarding Washington's final placement. "We've proven that we have beaten anybody that we are going to have to face this year. I am not worried about that." With statement wins over the Indiana Pacers, as well as the Heat, Washington has proved they can beat anyone, especially since a few of their bigs wins came when they didn't have the services of Nene.
This postseason will mark the first for the Wizards in six years. They went 2-4 in 2008, in a first round exit as James and the Cavs lost 4-3 in the semi-finals to the eventual NBA Champion Boston Celtics.