The Washington Wizards started off the 2020-2021 season with zero wins and 5 losses. There is a saying, “it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”
At the beginning of the season, there were Houston won the trade theories, Russell Westbrook is washed, Bertans is out of shape and this team has no heart. With the results, the Wizards were putting out, who could blame anyone for those conclusions?
According to ESPN’s BPI, the Wizards’ chance to make the playoffs on April 6th was just 0.6%. On April 6th, their current record was 17-32 and since turned that around to 17-6 to finish the season.
Well, I hope those same people are watching because the Washington Wizards pull the unthinkable and punch a ticket into the Playoffs as 8th seed with a Play-In win against the Indiana Pacers Thursday night.
The Washington Wizards faced the Indiana Pacers three times this season. In those games, Washington averaged 139.7 points, shot 53.5% from the field, 78 points in the paint, and 35 assists. Safe to say Washington swept the regular-season series.
After getting rocked by the Boston Celtics the Wizards were faced to play in a win or go home Play-In Tournament game against the Indiana Pacers who made a mockery of the Charlotte Hornets. As they say, if it is not broke then do not fix it and the Wizards absolutely dismantle the Indiana Pacers, 142-115.
Last night, Washington scored a franchise-high in a postseason game with 142 points. Their previous best came in 1965 when they scored 131 points.
Russell Westbrook determined to not miss the postseason, put up 18 points, 8 rebounds, and 15 assists. In the 2nd to 3rd quarter, Russell started putting his head down attacking the basket, and opened up a 16-0 run that the Pacers could never recover from. Russell sat out the last 8 minutes of the game.
Scott Brooks who coached Russell during most of his years in Oklahoma City explains, “Russell has an edge, guys, and I think the world should appreciate that. He gives you everything. He’s a hooper. And sometimes, he’s an angry hooper. But he’s a hooper that plays the right way and plays hard.”
Bradley Beal, still battling a hamstring injury played through the pain and managed to score 25 points, shot 9/17 from the field, and 4 assists in 28 minutes.
The Daniel Gafford Show
Daniel Gafford has been making a hard case for more minutes or a starting position on the Washington Wizards. Last night, Gafford put up 15 points, secured 13 rebounds, and swatted 5 shots in 22 minutes.
“I was overwhelmed with a lot of emotion after the game. I had to kind of just hold it in…I would say this trade was the best thing that could have ever happened to me” Gafford says in a post-game interview.
Gafford is making the case as “Steal of the Century” for Washington and us as fans are happy to have him.
Robin “And A Hook Shot” Lopez put up another impressive performance off the bench with 9 points on 4/5 shooting, Neto added 14 points in 25 minutes and Bertans finally hit a three.
As the Eastern Conference’s No. 8 seed, the Washington Wizards will face the No.1 seeded Philadelphia 76ers led by MVP candidate Joel Embiid. Washington is not looking like the favorite by a long shot but considering where this team started, the players should be very proud.
With that said, if the 76ers allow Washington to steal the first game…Houston we have a problem.
In the 3 games that the 76ers faced Washington this season, Embiid averaged 30 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Our big man rotation will have their hands full and containing Embiid is a job in itself.
A matchup that could be very interesting is Rui Hachimura vs Tobias Harris. Rui is proving his ability to be able to defend multiple positions so Tobias Harris will be a great test as a player who can shoot, drive and defend.
Bradley Beal averaged 31.3 points per game in the regular season and the Wizards’ will need every single of those points and some more in order to contest with Philadelphia.
Beal did drop 60 points in a January loss to Philadelphia so there is no question about his scoring ability, the question lies in his hamstring strength.
Bradley Beal status
Washington will face the 76ers in Philadelphia this upcoming Sunday at 1 pm. This team will have to be absolutely perfect against Philadelphia. Perfect means limited turnovers, bench points, points in the paints, must get out in transition, and hit the big-time 3 pointers.
Overall, very proud of this team and what they were able to accomplish. Great work fellas!