Wizards close with rout of Celtics to jump to No. 5 seed

Wizards close with rout of Celtics to jump to No. 5 seed
April 16, 2014, 10:15 pm
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Everything broke the right way for the Wizards, who beat the Boston Celtics and had Brooklyn Nets lose Wednesday, to jump to the No. 5 seed on the final day of the regular season. They'll play Game 1 of a first-round series at the Chicago Bulls on Sunday. 

The Wizards (44-38) won the season series with Chicago 2-1, with the only loss coming 96-78 on April 5 at Verizon Center. In that game, however, they didn't have Nene who was out because of a left knee ligament strain. 

Trevor Booker scored all 20 of his points in the first half to spark the Wizards (44-38) to a 15-point lead and their most wins since 2004-05 when this franchise won 45. It also ties for the second-most wins in a season since 1979. 

John Wall led his team out to a fast start by getting 13 points and five assists in the first quarter. He finished with 15 and nine, Bradley Beal led all scorers with 27 on 10-for-14 shooting and seven rebounds, Trevor Ariza had 13 points and six rebounds, Marcin Gortat had 15 and 10 rebounds to end his season with 37 double-doubles. 

Phil Pressey, who was starting in place of Rajon Rondo (left hamstring), shot 3-for-12 for just nine points. Pressey had a career-high 20 in Washington on Jan. 22 to upset the Wizards 113-111 in overtime. 

[RELATED: Wall tosses to Booker for big alley-oop slam]

The Nets (44-38) fell at the Cleveland Cavaliers 114-85, dropping them into a tie with the Wizards who won the tiebreaker by virtue of a 3-0 record vs. Brooklyn head-to-head this season. As the No. 6 seed, they'll face the No. 3 seed Toronto Raptors. The Charlotte Bobcats (43-39) won, too, but they're locked into the No. 7 seed and a first-round series with the Miami Heat. 

Turning point: Boston (25-57) trimmed the double-digit deficit to 74-70 midway through the third quarter but Washington went on a 9-0 run to push it back to a comfortable margin and lead 91-75, their largest lead up to that point, entering the fourth. 

Key stat: Washington made 50 of 88 shots for 56.8% and only committed 12 turnovers. 

Primed: Nene came off the bench again and had his minutes scaled back to 22 after playing 24 in the previous outing. He had 12 points on 5-for-6 shooting. He'll more than likely be in the starting lineup for the postseason, pushing Booker back to the bench. It was Nene's fourth game since returning from that Feb. 23 injury. 

Cut above: Al Harrington left in the first half after a blow to the face that required stitches over his left eye. He returned in the fourth quarter to hit a three-pointer to push the score to 108-88. He finished with five points in 12 minutes. 

From the locker room: "I think we have a lot of confidence. We're happy where were at and how we're playing. It's all about our defense. We're playing tremendous defense right now and as long as we continue to do that we're going to finish pretty well." -- Beal 

"Everything this year has been more positive than negative. I'm just happy for the organization, just happy for the players that have been here throughout this (playoff) drought." -- Ariza

"I think I did a good job of letting guys know this is an important game for us and being focused. We came out and that's the most focused we've been for a big game like this." -- Wall 

Around the bend: The Wizards return to D.C. after the game and will practice at Verizon Center, will be off Thursday, practice Friday and travel to Chicago on Saturday for Sunday's Game 1 (CSN, 7 p.m. ET). 

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