Last night the Heat punched their ticket, tonight the Wizards followed suit. They did so by winning a low scoring affair in Chicago, 75-69. The series lasted five games and tonight's victory gave Washington their first playoff series win since 2005 when they did it with guys like: Gilbert Arenas, Kwame Brown, and Antawn Jamison. That season they also beat the Chicago Bulls. Their next challenger will either be the 8-seeded Atlanta Hawks (who won tonight to take the 3-2 series edge) or the 1-seeded, down but not quite out, Indiana Pacers.
There were really three central pillars to tonight's 'W' for the Wiz: Nene, who was ejected in the 4th quarter of Game Four, had 20 points to go along with seven rebounds. He also made one of the biggest plays of the night (which we'll get to in a second). The second pillar was Bradley Beal, the 20-year-old who continues to impress, tonight he scored 17. Lastly, was his backcourt mate John Wall who scored a game-high 24 in the winning effort. He also chipped in a fairly surprising seven boards. We'll do the math for you, the three combined for 61 points which adds up to over 81% of Washington's offensive attack.
Now we'll get to Chicago, and the aforementioned "big play" by Nene. The Bulls (who looked pretty fatigued tonight) had a late opportunity, down just 72-69 with roughly 20 seconds left. That's when veteran point guard Andre Miller had a chance to ice the game with two clutch free throws. He unexpectedly bricked both giving the Bulls a chance to play for OT. The problem? Nene tipped the ball backwards allowing Washington two more shots from the line. These two they sunk, along with any hope left in the United Center crowd.
But that shouldn't prevent any sort of congrats to the Wizards, who now have an opportunity for home court advantage in the Semifinals, and with it a good chancer to make more noise this postseason.