The Wizards‘ chances of finishing with the ninth-best record in the Eastern Conference are slim and will abruptly end the moment Philadelphia wins its next game or Washington loses. But that hasn’t kept Coach Randy Wittman from continuing to make that pitch to his players with three games remaining.
“They haven’t eliminated us,” Wittman said of the 76ers, Washington’s opponent in Friday’s home finale. “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.”
Since starting the season 4-28, the Wizards have gone 25-22, with the last 46 games all with John Wall. They have also been dominant at Verizon Center, where they have gone 22-18 — including 18-5 with Wall — and had won nine in a row before losing at home to a depleted Miami squad.
The Wizards will be without Trevor Ariza (sore left knee) and Martell Webster (abdominal strain) against the 76ers, but Wall said the team still has something to play for the rest of the way.
“Get to 30 wins,” Wall said. “That’s what one of our goals was. Didn’t nobody expect us to get there after we started the season the way we started. Just want to win our last home game and go out and find a way to win games on the road.”
After Philadelphia, the Wizards will conclude the season on the road against playoff-bound Brooklyn and Chicago. Both teams actually have a chance of meeting in the first round and Wizards can affect their playoff seeding.
“We get paid to play 82 games,” Wittman said. “So we go out and we should play 82 games.”
Tipoff: 7 p.m.
TV: Comcast SportsNet
Radio: 106.7 (WJFK FM)