The Philadelphia 76ers have been the Wizards’ focus ever since they were eliminated from playoff contention.
The Sixers (31-47) are in ninth place in the East, one spot out of the playoffs.
Coach Randy Wittman challenged the Wizards (29-50) to play hard so they can jump them and use that progress that as motivation going into the offseason.
Both teams, however, are on three-game losing streaks. The Wizards lost 103-98 to the Miami Heat on Wednesday.
With three games left in their season, the Wizards enter Friday’s home finale vs. the Sixers trying to keep alive that hope of catching them (CSN, 7 p.m. ET).
“They haven’t eliminated us,” Wittman said. “To end up strong here at our home, we've created a home atmosphere here. Getting to the 30-win plateau or above, being where we were 32 games into this is something these guys can hang their hat on moving into next year.”
The Wizards began 4-28 without John Wall. Since his return from a knee injury, they've been difficult to beat at home. They’re 22-18 at Verizon Center. Until the loss to Miami, the Wizards had won nine in a row here.
“We feel like we didn't play no D last night,” Wall said, alluding to the 17 three-pointers made by the Heat despite their not having their three best players. “They basically got whatever they wanted. You got to be really be focused and get out last home game as a win.”
The Wizards have road games at the playoff-bound Brooklyn Nets and Chicago Bulls to close out the season next week.
Wittman doesn't believe in taking games off regardless of circumstance, though he doubts forwards Martell Webster (abdominal strain) and Trevor Ariza (sore left knee) will be able to play vs. Philadelphia.
“You always want to see how guys react to certain situations. Even though we’re not playing for a playoff spot how do you react in these last three games? You taking an opportunity to prove something or you’re not?” Wittman said. “Are you throwing the three games away?
“That tells a lot for me when I look, in tight situations, who I have confidence in. That applies to everybody. … We get paid to play 82 games. So we go out and we should play 82 games.”