Brad Stevens

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Wizards 113, Celtics 101: Nope, we still don't know who they're playing in the first round

John Tomase
April 10, 2018 - 11:58 pm
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The Celtics controlled their own destiny in one key sense -- if they beat the host Wizards on Tuesday night, they could avoid John Wall and Co. in the first round of the playoffs.

No such luck.

The Wizards turned a tense game at halftime into a laugher, rolling to a 113-101 victory that leaves all three bottom seeds up for grabs entering Wednesday's final day of the season.

Normally the second seed in the conference wouldn't be overly concerned with who finishes seventh, but the Celtics aren't a typical No. 2 seed. Thanks to injuries, they'll be playing without All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, defensive sparkplug Marcus Smart, and big man Daniel Theis -- not to mention forward Gordon Hayward.

Their lack of depth makes Washington a potential nightmare, thanks to the return of Wall, an All-Star guard who missed over half the season with a bad knee. Wall scored a game-high 29 points and dished 12 assists, making 4-of-5 3-pointers in the process. He is only a year removed from dropping over 40 on the Celtics in a playoff game and taking the C's to seven games in the conference semifinals. That team boasted a healthy Smart and an at-times unstoppable Isaiah Thomas.

This one is trying to get by with rookie Jayson Tatum, second-year man Jaylen Brown, big man Al Horford, and the coaching genius of Brad Stevens. So whom might they play?

The Heat, Bucks, and Wizards are all in action on Wednesday. The Bucks finish at Philadelphia, the Heat hosts Toronto, and the Wizards visit the Magic. If all three teams win, the Celtics will host the Heat. If all three lose, they'll get the Bucks. The Wizards only finish seventh if they win and the other two split. If Washington wins and the other two lose, Washington finishes sixth.

Got all that? As things stand now, the Bucks are sixth, with the Heat and Wizards tied for seventh, though Miami wins the tie-breaker with a better divisional record.

As for Celtics highlights on Tuesday, Brown erupted for 21 of his team-high 27 points in the fourth quarter of a game that may go down as an opportunity lost.

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