The Washington Wizards put on an absolute clinic Saturday night in Philadelphia, trouncing the 76ers by 19 points on the night where they honored future Hall of Famer Allen Iverson. This effort was thanks in large part to Trevor Ariza pouring in a career high 40 points off of 14-23 shooting. Ariza’s big night is a prime example of how important it will be for the Wizards “role” players to step up down the stretch with Nene out. John Wall as usual rose to the occasion posting a ridiculous 17 points and 16 assists. Looking past the fact that they were facing a subpar opponent, these types of efforts are what the Wizards will need night in and night out.
The Wizards claimed forward Drew Gooden off of Waivers this past Tuesday in an effort to sure up their frontcourt with Nene out for over a month. Gooden has an outstanding career average of 11.8 points per game to go along with just under 8 rebounds. The Wizards signed Gooden to only a ten day contract so realistically even the most minimal production from Gooden will be much needed and much appreciated. With the Wizards already on a six game winning streak, Gooden should put them in a prime position to keep rolling and keep drawing closer to that all important home court in the playoffs spot.
The Wizards trail the Raptors for the third spot in the eastern conference by a mere two games. As it has been well documented, the two seeds that any playoff hopeful team in the East is trying to avoid are the 7th and 8th seeds. With the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat set in stone as the two clear favorites in the East it would be downright unlucky for a team to be faced with such a monstrous task in the first round. This is not to say that it is impossible for these two teams to not meet up in the conference finals but rather to say that if your team can help it, the easiest path would be to avoid these teams as long as possible. Even if the Wizards were to draw about a six, there is no team that this team is genuinely incapable of defeating. Furthermore if the Wizards were able to rise up to the 3 spot, should a couple of crazy upsets occur, they could avoid the Heat and Pacers until the Conference Finals. Alas, should the Wizards continue to play this much improved and mature brand of basketball, they are directly on track to be participants in this year’s playoffs.