No Nene No Problem

No Nene…No Problem. The Wizards were able to take a commanding 3-1 series lead dominating the Bulls 98-89. Trevor Ariza had the hot hand all day scoring a playoff career high 30 points. John Wall recorded his first career playoff double double with 15 points and 10 assists, while Bradley Beal chipped in 18. The absence of the big Brazilian didn’t seem to affect the offense as the Wizards got off to a blistering pace jumping out to a 14-0 run to start the game. The score wasn’t truly indicative of the game as the Wizards dominated the offensively challenged Bulls.

Chicago struggled to generate any consistent offense outside of Taj Gibson who led all scorers with 32 points, shooting an impressive 13 of 16 from the field. Four year vet Trevor Booker filled Nene’s starting spot amicable providing the Wizards with relentless hustle and toughness inside. Booker, who fouled out with five minutes remaining, finished with eight points and nine boards. Marcin “The Polish Machine” Gortat filled up the box score with 17 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists.  

The Wizards will look to close out the series Tuesday when they head back north to the United Center. Even if the Bulls manage to win game five, it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which the Wizards don’t advance to the next round. Since the switch to a seven game playoff format, only eight teams were able to overcome a 3-1 series deficit and move on to the next round. Assuming they go through to the Eastern Conference semi-finals, the Wizards would await the winner of the Pacers Hawks series which is currently deadlocked at 2 games apiece. The upstart Wizards are peaking at the perfect time and have to feel good about their chances at advancing to the Eastern Conference finals where they will like find an old playoff nemesis and the 2 time defending champion Miami Heat. 

Wizards Playoff Seeding Scenarios

The final day of the NBA regular season has come.  Although they clinched over two weeks ago, the Wizards playoff seeding remains uncertain. Currently sitting in the 6th seed, the Wizards could potentially jump up the 5th, remain in place, or fall to the 7th seed.

With Indiana and Miami having already locked up the first two spots, I have compiled all the different scenarios that would impact the Wizards seeding.

1)      If the Wizards WIN they automatically clinch no worse than the 6th seed

2)      If Washington loses and the Bobcats win, the Wizards fall to 7th and face the defending champs and a first round exit

3)      If Brooklyn loses and the Wizards win, Washington would leapfrog Brooklyn into the 5th seed

First and foremost, the Wizards have to take of business against the Celtics (who are questionably resting players) before worrying about the following scenarios that would determine their foe if they clinch the 5th or 6th seed.

1)      If Toronto Wins or the Bulls lose they automatically clinch the third seed

2)      Vice Versa, if the Bulls win and Toronto loses the Bulls would secure the 3rd seed

I’d personally like to see the Wizards play Toronto as the 5th or 6th seed. I know that the Raptors took the regular series 3-1, but Chicago has been playing the best basketball as of late. Chicago also has a veteran laden team with multiple players having playoff experience.  As most of us now, the playoffs are completely different breed of basketball. The Raptors, just like the Wizards, find themselves with in the playoffs after a six year drought. Both teams will need at least a game to match the intensity brought forth by an experienced team. Now I’m not saying the Wizards couldn’t defeat the Bulls (because I think they could), but I think the Raptors would be the easier road to the second round. In either scenario the Wizards have to win at Boston because facing the Heat in the first round would be a death sentence.