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Wednesday NBA grades: Wall, Wizards are playoffs bound

Apr 3, 2014, 2:26 AM EDT

Boston Celtics v Washington Wizards Getty Images

Our quick look around the NBA, or what you missed while feeding the local alligator

source:  Washington Wizards. Congratulations Wizards. At the start of the season John Wall was writing “playoffs” on his shoes and when the Wizards opened the season 2-7 we smirked. Now they get the last smirk — for the first time in Wall’s career and the first time since 2008 for Washington the playoffs are a reality. They made it a reality with an easy 118-92 win over the Celtics Wednesday — Marcin Gortat led the way with 22 points on 13 shots, plus he got into the Celtics huddle, literally — which improved the Wizards 39-36 on the season. Enjoy it. Celebrate it, savor it Wizards fans.

source:   Paul George, Indiana Pacers. The Pacers’ best player scored 27 points on 9-of-19 shooting and the Pacers as a team scored more than 100 points for the first time since the middle of March. Yes, it was against the Pistons (the team that ended the Sixers 26-game losing streak). Doesn’t matter. Everybody needs a slump buster every once in a while. The Pacers shared the ball (Lance Stephenson in particular) and they moved off the ball. It was a sign of what is possible, if they can build on it. For George, it was the kind of night where even this would fall.

source:   New York Knicks. They made it all the way back — if the playoffs started today the Knicks would be in it. They care and it showed in their 110-81 thumping of the Nets Wednesday behind 24 points from J.R. Smith. (The Knicks passion contrasts with the stunning disinterest from Hawks management.) Of course Phil Jackson really had nothing to do with this, but he’ll get credit for it anyway because he is Phil Jackson. Still, there is work to do, the Knicks are just percentage points ahead of the Hawks and still one back in the loss column, but it looks like the improbable run to the postseason is going to be a reality.

source:   DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors. He was matched up on James Harden — Olympian, one of the best two guards in the game — and played the beard to a standstill. DeRozan had 29 points on 10-of-19 shooting. Forget the fact Houston was without that Dwight Howard guy, this was a quality win for the Raptors.

source:   Kenneth Faried, Denver Nuggets. He was a beast — 34 points on 14-of-19 shooting, plus 13 rebounds and three blocks. Even for a guy known for playing with high energy he seemed to be everywhere. There are a couple of reasons the Nuggets have played better ball of late, and Ty Lawson’s return is the obvious one, but Manimal has played well of late also.

  1. yomarianob - Apr 3, 2014 at 3:29 AM

    Nobody is talking about the Cavaliers, they are 2 games back of atlanta and NY, and they clearly have the easiest schedule.. Kyrie is back and they are playing better with all Deng, Hawes, Waiters, etc on the same channel, even the rookie Delladova is showing some great things.. The CAVS will be fighting for that 8 seed on April 16

  2. clevelandschronic2 - Apr 3, 2014 at 3:51 AM

    Im also wondering why the Cavs arent being talked about more? 2 games back of the final playoff spot and we got kyrie back. If dion and kyrie keep playing like they did tonight we will make these last 8 games or so very interesting. The Cavs are playing their best basketball of the year right now so we still have a legitimate shot of making the playoffs. Regardless of how this season ends Go Cavs

    • timberwolvesbrisin - Apr 3, 2014 at 11:16 AM

      Because theyre like 10 games under 500.

      • clevelandschronic2 - Apr 3, 2014 at 2:01 PM

        And how are your timberwolves doing?? Have they even made the playoffs in the last 20 yrs??? LMFAO kevin love is a done in Minnesota!!! so enjoy watching him play out his final games in your uniform because theres a good chance the next time he plays it’ll be in a lakers jersey. But hey atleast you’ll have rubio and his 10pts per game avg to lead you LMFAO.

  3. xliontamer - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:06 AM

    The Knick’s last six are all against playoff bound teams (from the East), so if they do get in, they will have earned it.

  4. doncorleone17 - Apr 3, 2014 at 7:30 AM

    People say that the Knicks have a tough schedule, umm not really I know all the teams they play are above .500 but the Knicks can defeat all of those teams. & I still can’t believe the Cavs are in the hunt I remember at the beginning of March when the Knicks beat them I thought they were out of it & on top of that they lost Kyire and they still competing that’s crazy

    • bucrightoff - Apr 3, 2014 at 8:58 AM

      That just shows you how historically pathetic the Eastern Conference is. A team 10 games under .500 might make the playoffs.

  5. cruzan80 - Apr 3, 2014 at 10:48 AM

    I see the Knicks going 3-3 to finish the season. Losing both games to Toronto & to the Wizards. PG’s have killed Felton all year…I don’t see that changing over the next two weeks. The Cavs won’t be better than 2-4…the Bucks & Celtics are the only “sure” wins left on their schedule in my opinion. They’ve played well but like the Knicks it’s been against mostly bad teams.

    When the dust settles….the Heat will be packing their brooms on the way to Atlanta.

  6. capspats - Apr 3, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    Don’t forget about Love’s triple-double

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