After the Washington Wizards overcame a 16-point deficit at home against the Charlotte Hornets, the Celtics now know they’ll face the eighth-seeded Wiz in the play-in tournament.
Over the last fifteen games, Boston and Washington have been a tale of two cities. The Wizards went 10-5 to close out the season and have stormed back after starting off the year 3-12. Their resurgence has been unexpectedly fueled by former MVP Russell Westbrook who has again averaged a triple-double and should garner All-NBA consideration.
Conversely, the Celtics are limping into the playoffs. After getting up to #4 in the East, they’ve battled injury, COVID, and inconsistencies and finished the year 5-10. They’ll be without Jaylen Brown for the postseason and Robert Williams is still a question mark with reoccurring turf toe.
Outside of the obvious reward of clinching the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference, the matchup is narrative-rich. Jayson Tatum and Bradley Beal’s long-time friendship will now be tested in the playoffs and their own postseason resumes forged by that fire. Veterans Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier will have a chance to make a deep playoff run, opportunities that alluded them in Charlotte and Orlando respectively.
The Eastern Conference play-in tournament starts Tuesday night with the 10th seeded Hornets in Indiana to face the Pacers at 6:30 pm with the Celtics and Wizards tipping off at 9 pm. The loser of the 7-8 game will face the winner of the 9-10 game on Thursday.