Washington Wizards is without a doubt one of the stories of the year in the NBA regular season. A team that separated its way from the one that was once its leader, John Wall, in exchange for bringing in the more than questioned Russell Westbrook, who had been crawling for several years through the lower-middle part of the Eastern conference, which began the course 0-5 and that six games were postponed by the Covid. And if all this was not enough, his record at the beginning of April was 17-32. The Wizards, one more year, seemed evicted from the fight for the playoffs. But a month and a half later and a streak of 17 wins and 6 losses culminating in the victory over Charlotte Hornets (115-110), here they are, one game away from taking seventh place and seeing each other, either with the Nets or well with the Bucks (depends on what happens this morning).
The decisive game with which they signed the eighth place in the regular league brought them to them. Their rival, the Hornets, were in the same situation as them. Whoever won was eighth and whoever lost was tenth. And most of the game they were ahead of Charlotte. And during that large part of the match both Westbrook and Bradley Beal were off the hook when it came to marksmanship. There was a moment in the third quarter when the two of them were 6/25 shooting from the field. The Wizards made the rubber holding on to the good work of the very young Rui Hachimura (16 points, 6 rebounds, 58.3% in field shots), the minutes of genius of Ish Smith (15 + 7 + 8), which lasted until the final, and the appearance of Robin López (18 + 6) to contribute on the inside what was missing on the outside.
Until then, they played what the Hornets’ short ones wanted, especially Terry Rozier, who was on the verge of triple-double (22 + 9 + 9). But with the arrival of the last quarter the movie began to change. Two things happened: The Wizards got serious back as Westbrook and Beal started carburizing. When the last minutes arrived, the two stars were already playing at full capacity and the blackout in the Hornets was general (0 points scored in the last 3 minutes). Westbrook, who added another triple-double, and Beal, along with the rest of the capital team, now threaten the Celtics with many doubts and some casualties (especially that of Jaylen Brown). Whoever wins the game that will be played at dawn from Tuesday to Wednesday, 03:00 Spanish time, will have a place in the playoffs. Whoever loses will play the last ticket to life or death against the winner of the Pacers-Hornets, which is played that same day, a little earlier (00:30).
Raptors 113 – Pacers 125
Finally, in this fight to be better than the rest in the East play-in, the Pacers started with the cards marked. The best that could happen to them was to finish ninth if they won and play the first round as well as locals, which is what will happen. In no house could they reach the eighth place, so those of Indiana already took to the track in Tampa psyched that if they want to be in the playoffs they will have to win two life and death duels and that the prize will be to face in the first round with the best regular season conference team: the Philadephia 76ers. At the moment they did their homework against some Raptors who will surely want to forget this season as soon as possible, in which the accumulation of important casualties in the last two years (Kawhi, Green, Marc, Ibaka) has ended up taking its toll. It remains to be seen if Kyle Lowry will return next year, who did not hit the court like most of the Canadians’ leading players. In the Pacers, Oshae Brissett stood out, who achieved his personal scoring record (31) and Domantas Sabonis, with 25 points and 16 rebounds.