There were no spoilers Wednesday in Boston, as the Washington Wizards dismantled the Boston Celtics 118-102. Washington's starting five came out strong, and with a postseason run out of reach, the Celtics looked ready to concede.
The Wizards victory, coupled by a loss by the Brooklyn Nets to the Cleveland Cavaliers, gave way to a Wizards-Bulls First Round battle, which will begin Sunday in Chicago (7:00 p.m. ET, CSN/TNT). Washington has not achieved a Playoffs run since 2008, back when the Wizards boasted the talent of point guard Gilbert Arenas, small forward Caron Butler, and power forward Antawn Jamison.
"It's great, it's everything I've been waiting for as a point guard and trying to learn how to lead in this league and become a better player but also I think the fans deserve it," said Wizards point guard John Wall two weeks ago after Washington clinched a Playoffs berth. "The tough time they went through of them booing us and us feeling bad when we're not playing good or playing the right way and having the right people around the organization."
Wall, who joined Washington in 2010, ended up seeing perhaps the worst of the Wizards years, as Arenas fell out of favor due to an unloaded guns dispute (and felony charge), and former Wizards forward Andray Blatche (2005-2012), now famously, ended up a "DNP (Did Not Play)--Conditioning."
Blatche, who is still at least in the NBA conversation, achieved a double-double Wednesday as the Nets lost to the Cavs. He achieved only six double-doubles in 2013-14, however, but in games in which Blatche had 10-plus rebounds this season, he never had less than 10-plus points. If he can hone in on that fact there may be some hope for 'Dray yet.
As for the Wall-led Wizards, Washington should match-up with Chicago fairly well. The Wizards beat the Bulls 2-1 in 2013-14, the first two games, both wins, coming five days apart (and the first win decided by quite a large margin), and the last game a terrible loss for Washington, hampered in a back-to-back following a tough pull-out road win against the New York Knicks.
Wall averaged 20.6 points against Chicago this season, and if you want to be clinical, his average was nearly a mode. In short, the Bulls couldn't stop Wall this season. Nene also gave the Bulls some trouble, and, for what it's worth, Nene was a DNP in the game in which Washington lost. After his 21-game rest, Nene should be ready to reprise his role as "the key" to Washington's success against such bigs as triple-double machine Joakim Noah (who would have thought?) and Carlos Boozer, the area in which the Wizards should have the most trouble during this series. But most importantly? Check out this Wizards' Game Notes .PDF and look at the "Injury Report," then find something made of wood to knock on. It's been awhile.