The obligatory question for the Wizards is this: Who do you want to play in the next round, the Indiana Pacers or Atlanta Hawks. The answer shouldn't be difficult to muster. The Hawks. Not only did the Wizards win three of four against them in the regular season, they'd have home-court advantage.
Drew Gooden, in typical player-speak, said it doesn't matter but in the process took a polite dig at the Brooklyn Nets, who lost two of the last three games of the regular season to drop to the No. 6 seed which allowed the Wizards to jump to No. 5. They didn't want to play the Chicago Bulls, who the Wizards eliminated in five games earlier this week, and now the Nets are facing elimination vs. the Toronto Raptors on Friday night in Game 6 (ESPN2, 7 p.m. ET).
"I say we don’t get too caught up watching the game and cheering for who we want to play in the next round," said Gooden of the Hawks-Pacers series which will have a Game 7 Saturday in Indianapolis. "You saw how Brooklyn did towards the end of the regular season. Trying to position themselves, fixing the cards they’re dealt and they’re down a game now in the series and if they do win they’ve got to see Miami. We just sit back and whoever we got to play, we got to play, just how we treated the Chicago situation."
There's sense in all of that. When it was pointed out that against Atlanta that the Wizards would have home-court, Gooden said: "Yes, it would work in our favor to probably have home court but it didn't work in Chicago's favor to have home court, either."
The Wizards won three of the four games in their series in Chicago. They wouldn't have home-court vs. the Pacers, but the Wizards were tied for the best road record in the East at 22-19.
They would be playing the Raptors right now if the Nets hadn't chosen to "rest" so many of their key players to end the regular season with seeding on the line. They didn't just lose. They were routed by non-playoff teams: 109-98 to the New York Knicks and 114-85 at the Cleveland Cavaliers.