The Washington Wizards welcomed their starting point guard, John Wall, back to the lineup on Saturday against the Charlotte Hornets. Bradley Beal and his teammates kept the team in playoff position with Wall out since January, but he should add a boost to the team for the playoffs.
The Wizards clinched a playoff berth for the fourth time in five years with their 107-93 win over the Hornets, and their full lineup showed the potential that could be on display during the postseason.
Wall praised the team for their efforts while he was sidelined with his injury that allowed the team to clinch the playoffs tonight.
“Give those guys credit for the way they played because if we didn’t win those, that one five-game winning streak, to start off very well when I was injured we would be a team trying to fight and get in to the playoff spot,” Wall said after the game.
Wall posted 15 points and 14 assists in his return, Brad knocked down six of eight three-pointers on his way to 22 points, and Otto Porter Jr. filled up the stat sheet with 26 points and 11 rebounds.
Washington tied a franchise record with 18 three-pointers in the game, including twelve from Beal and Porter combined.
The game was a battle early on, as the teams went back-and-forth for much of the first half. Charlotte took a one-point advantage into the locker room at halftime, but the Wizards started the second half on an 11-0 run to take a commanding double-digit lead, and they would hold on for a playoff-clinching victory.
While Saturday night ended with a healthy John Wall and a playoff berth, the Wizards had another game to play on Sunday against the Chicago Bulls.
The Wizards fell in this one 113-94, potentially due to tired legs or a short-handed roster. Wall did not play in the second night of the back-to-back.
The Wizards still have some improvements to make to adjust to having Wall back. They showed their potential for the playoffs in their win on Saturday, but they showed some flaws on Sunday. With five games remaining before the playoffs, The Panda and the Wizards know they need to lock in for a playoff run.
BB stressed the importance of finishing strong down the stretch to position themselves for a good first round matchup. Now that they’ve clinched, their focus is getting the best seed they can.
“Now it’s all about matchups and who you want to play in the first round and from there on,” Brad said. “And we could be playing somebody we want to play or we’re playing a tough one in the first one.”
The Wizards have a tough matchup on Tuesday against the Houston Rockets at 8pm ET. It should be a good test for No. 3 and his teammates as they gear up for the playoffs. After playing in Houston, they travel to Cleveland for another playoff-caliber opponent on Thursday on TNT.