The Washington Wizards killed two birds with one stone by taking down the Orlando Magic by a score of 96-86 on Friday night and successfully grabbing sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
It has been a season of ups and downs for the Wizards. Despite a roller coaster of a year, the Wizards have managed to clinch a playoff spot. Their work is not over yet because they must try to win the few games that are left in the regular season in order to gain as much ground in the standings as possible.
With a record of 41-38, Washington is not looking too shabby. One team is pulling on their coattails though and that team is none other than the the surprising Charlotte Bobcats. Who knew the Bobcats would be a playoff team come April? The Bobcats just seem to never go away. Charlotte actually got into a groove and passed the Wizards in the standings earlier in the week.
Charlotte and Washington were tied at 40-38 coming into the NBA’s heavy 13-game slate on Friday night. Charlotte lost to the Boston Celtics and that opened up the opportunity for the Wizards to reclaim the sixth spot in a tight race.
Judging by the final score, Washington clearly came into Amway Center in Orlando, Florida to handle business. Of course, they were playing the Magic, who are one of the teams on the very lowest tier in the NBA but the Wizards did not go easy on the Magic at all.
Due to a collective effort from a bevvy of talented players, the Wizards were able to notch a win and snag that sixth spot just as they hoped. Nene Hilario put up a team-high 17 points in his second game back from a sprained MCL in his left knee and will really provide the Wizards with a solid post presence in the playoff stretch. John Wall added a double-double of 10 points and 12 assists. Trevor Booker contributed 14 points to the scoring column and Bradley Beal put up 16 points to go along with 3 steals in the contest.
The bench play is something that has really aided the Wizards is crucial times during the season. It is hard to say what guy is going to come off the bench and have a good game because there is some real talent on the supporting cast. For example, rookie forward Otto Porter Jr. scored 9 big points for the team in the victory over the magic on Friday night. Porter Jr. is only averaging 1.8 points per game, while shooting just 35.2 % from the field but he has a ton of potential and can possibly be a hidden weapon for Washington come playoff time. Don’t forget about veteran forward Al Harrington! Harrington proved he still has a little giddy up in those legs by tallying 9 points and 9 boards against the Magic and is another key guy that comes off of the bench for Washington.
Washington has three games left in the regular season. Charlotte is on their tail but as long as the Wizards can keep picking up wins such as the one against the Magic on Friday, fans in DC will have little to worry about as far as keeping possession of the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference.