On the night Washington’s season came to an end with a disappointing loss to the Indiana Pacers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, Bradley Beal tried to watch the late game featuring Oklahoma City and the Los Angeles Clippers but had to turn off the television. A few days later, Coach Randy Wittman and Martell Webster both admitted that they couldn’t watch the Eastern Conference finals between Indiana and Miami because the wounds from defeat hadn’t begun to heal.
Nearly two weeks removed from that loss, the Wizards are moving on with their offseason. Marcin Gortat was in Miami to watch the Heat defeat the Pacers in Game 3. John Wall never took a break from watching the game and plans to keep it up until a champion is determined next month.
“I just love the game. I can’t stop watching. It’s something I like to do,” Wall said. “It just keeps me relaxed. And I might as well watch it, because in a couple of weeks, all you going to be able to see is baseball, so I won’t be watching SportsCenter.”
After a memorable regular season, the Wizards had their best playoff run in more than 35 years and there were several moments that stood out. Here is a look back at the highlights.
1. Bradley Beal scores nine points to force overtime in Chicago
The Wizards could’ve easily been satisfied with a split in Chicago, but Beal wanted to be greedy and his teammates followed. Overcoming a rough debut, Beal scored a playoff career-high 26 points, including nine during a 14-4 run that forced overtime in Game 2. Beal proved that he could handle the playoff pressure – he laughed off a shove from Kirk Hinrich early in the game – while letting the rest of the league know that Washington wasn’t just happy to be in the playoffs for the first time in six years. — Michael Lee
2. Marcin Gortat and John Wall force Game 6 against Indiana
Staring in the face of elimination, Gortat and Wall put together career playoff performances to lead the Wizards to their most dominant victory of the playoffs. The Polish Hammer went for 31 points and 16 rebounds as the Wizards built a +39 rebounding margin on Indiana, tied for third-largest in NBA playoff history. Meantime, Wall’s teetering confidence got a boost when he scored 17 of his 27 points in an explosive third quarter. — Brandon Parker
3. Nene dominates Joakim Noah in Game 1 in Chicago
Nene had to wait three years to get back to the playoffs, taking a detour from eight straight postseason appearances in Denver to join a rebuilding franchise in Washington. Announcing his return to the big stage with an emphatic jam over Chicago’s Carlos Boozer to start the game, the Brazilian big man guided the Wizards to the organization’s first victory in Game 1 of a playoff series since 1986. In a dominant performance against Noah, the defensive player of the year, Nene had 24 points, eight rebounds and a huge block in the final minute of a 102-93 win. — ML
4. Wall scores 25 in series-clinching win over Bulls
After playing the role of distributor for most of the series, Wall asserted himself offensively despite the game’s sluggish pace. In the lowest-scoring playoff game in franchise history, Wall found a way to be effective and repeatedly made timely baskets. Along with his 25 points, Wall grabbed seven rebounds to help the Wizards clinch their first playoff series victory since 2005 and advance to the second round for just the third time in 32 years. — BP
5. Nene headbutts Jimmy Butler in Game 3 against Chicago
The frustration had been building for the entire night. Nene glared angrily at officials, believing that the Bulls were getting away with some extra contact on his drives and low-post moves. In a rare lapse in judgment in Game 3, Nene finally lost his composure after bumping into Butler, a Bulls swingman. Butler placed his hand on Nene’s hip and Nene reacted by locking foreheads with Butler and then grabbing him around the neck. Nene was ejected and the Wizards lost, but the team used his suspension for Game 4 as motivation for an impressive 98-89 victory that included Ted Leonsis wearing Nene’s No. 42. — ML
6. Trevor Ariza has two six three-pointer games
The playoffs brought out an emotional side of Trevor Ariza that few had seen before — and his boxscore numbers were just as unprecedented. In Game 4 of Washington’s series with Chicago, Ariza put on an exhibition akin to “Around the World,” hitting shots from all over the perimeter to tie a Wizards playoff record with six threes. Two games later, Ariza was at it again, hitting all six of his three-point tries to spark the Wizards to a road win in Game 1 against the Pacers. The outbursts punctuated a career year that is likely to lead to a big payday for the unrestricted free agent. — BP
7. Beal becomes second player with three 25-point playoff games before turning 21
Beal will turn 21 on June 28, so he only had one chance to join some exclusive company with one of the greatest NBA players to ever suit up. With a 14-point fourth-quarter eruption that included a crowd-silencing corner three-pointer and some rare showmanship in a Game 1 victory over Indiana, Beal became the first 20-year-old since Magic Johnson to have three playoff games with at least three 25-point games. Beal was able to reach the feat in just his sixth postseason game. — ML
8. Randy Wittman makes history with road wins in playoff debut
Pat Riley, Mike Dunleavy and Randy Wittman. With his seat plenty hot and his contract nearing expiration, Wittman ascended into lofty territory by joining Riley and Dunleavy as the only NBA coaches to win their first four road playoff games. Unlike Riley and Dunleavy, the Wittman-led Wizards didn’t make it to the NBA Finals. But Washington’s coach did make a strong case to return as the Wizards’ leader next season, displaying a knack for tapping into his upstart team during his playoff head coaching debut. — BP
9. Andre Miller has flashback moments vs Chicago (in Game 1) and Indiana (in Game 4)
In the most unlikely chant of the season, fans serenaded 38-year-old Andre Miller by chanting his name as he shot free throws to give the Wizards a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter of Game 4 against Indiana. Washington still lost despite the throwback performances of Miller and fellow veterans Al Harrington and Drew Gooden. But the 15-year veteran played a huge role in getting out of the first round for the first time in his career by scoring 10 points in the second half to lead the Wizards’ rally from a 13-point deficit in Game 1 against Chicago. — ML
10. Gooden gets 12 points and 13 rebounds in 18 minutes in Indiana
He was supposed to be rusty, having logged just nine minutes per game during Washington’s first-round playoff series against Chicago. But the 32-year-old Gooden, who turned a 10-day contract with the Wizards in February into a consistent spot in their rotation, energized Washington by becoming the first player in the shot clock era to have at least 12 points and 13 rebounds in 18 minutes of action. — BP