CHARLOTTE – John Wall planned to watch the New York Knicks and Golden State Warriors on Sunday night when the Wizards arrived in Charlotte but he couldn’t find the game in his hotel room. Wall then tried to watch the game on League Pass on his computer but said he got a message that the game was “blacked out.”
So, while the Knicks were upsetting the Warriors to keep the Wizards’ magic number for a playoff berth at one, Wall had to rely on updates from his friends – and he didn’t exactly like what he was being told.
“I heard nobody could make a shot but Steph” Curry, said Wall, who didn’t even bother to check the box score. His informants were correct: Curry had 32 points and the rest of his Golden State teammates were a combined 18 for 58 (31 percent).
As they enter their third meeting of the season against the Bobcats on Monday, the Wizards have a simple task: Win and they are in the playoffs. Lose, and hope that the Utah Jazz defeats the Knicks. But Wall doesn’t want to think about the latter option.
“I’d rather us clinch it by winning than relying on another team. That means you’ve got to do your job,” Wall said. “I don’t mind. I like that. I feel like, we know what situation we put ourselves in this destiny. Our job is to go out there and take it one game at a time.”
Coach Randy Wittman also wasn’t upset that the Knicks – coached by his former college teammate at Indiana, Mike Woodson – didn’t roll over at the first opportunity to let the Wizards reach the postseason for the first time in six years. “I ain’t worried about Mike Woodson,” Witman said with a grin. “We’re just playing each game, that’s what we want our guys focused on. We want to build off of these two games we just had and worry about how we’re playing, everything else takes care of itself.”
The Wizards (38-35) are in a battle with Charlotte to avoid seventh place in the Eastern Conference and a win on Monday could go a long way toward helping Washington, which could essentially win a tiebreaker – even it loses to the Bobcats next week at Verizon Center. The Bobcats (35-38) have an inferior conference record and also are just 2-10 against Southeast Division opponents.
Wittman is more focused on the Wizards reaching a season-long goal of getting into the playoffs: “That’s what you work for, to get in. Obviously, that’s what you start back in September, striving to put yourself in this position.”
(TV: Comcast SportsNet. Radio: WJFK-106.7 MF, WFED-1500 AM).
Here’s some reading to get you ready for tonight’s game: