Wizards head to playoffs with win
- Article by: KEN POWTAK
- Associated Press
- April 16, 2014 - 9:30 PM
BOSTON — Bradley Beal scored 27 points and Washington clinched the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 118-102 win over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night.
The Wizards will be facing Chicago in their first playoff appearance since 2008.
Trevor Booker scored 20 points, Marcin Gortat had 15 with 10 rebounds, and John Wall 15 points for Washington, which finished the regular season 44-38. It's the most wins for the franchise since 45 in 2004-05.
The Wizards jumped over Brooklyn and into fifth place after the Nets lost in Cleveland.
Boston sat injured guards Rajon Rondo and Jerryd Bayless, and injured forwards Kris Humphries and Jared Sullinger, finishing with a 25-57 record. It was the club's worst since going 24-58 in 2006-07, the year before acquiring Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and winning its 17th NBA title.
Rookie Kelly Olynyk led Boston with 24 points and seven boards. Jeff Green scored 20 points and Avery Bradley 18.
The Celtics closed the season, filled with fans talking a lot of "tanking" and "pingpong balls," by losing 11 of their last 13.
Washington, which never trailed, led by 12 at halftime before the Celtics opened the third with a 14-6 run, closing it to 74-70 on Brandon Bass' jumper from the left wing.
But — behind Gortat's eight points — the Wizards answered by scoring 13 of the next 16 to move ahead 87-73.
Washington led by 16 entering the final quarter and coasted to the win.
Behind Wall scoring their initial six points, the Wizards had opened a double-digit lead (23-11) on Gortat's jumper midway into the opening quarter. They shot 66.7 percent (18 of 27) and led 38-24 at the break.
Both teams had a hot shooting second quarter, with neither below 55 percent as the Wizards' lead ranged between five and 15 points en route to a 68-56 halftime edge.
NOTES: Wall started all 82 regular season games after missing the start of last season with a left knee injury. "Coming off a tough year, last year injury-wise, to be able to play all 82 games is a heck of an accomplishment," Washington coach Randy Wittman said before the game. "You look at all the really good players that have played the game and they play all 82." ... Bass won the team's Red Auerbach Award that's given to the player or coach who best exemplifies the spirit of what it means to be a Celtic through performance on and off the court. ... Sullinger spoke to the crowd from midcourt before the game, saying: "We want to thank you for your endless support and passion throughout the whole season. Hopefully we'll come back better next year."
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