Since defeating the Lakers at home, the Wizards have alternated wins by beating the Cavaliers, Pacers, and Raptors, but losing to the Mavericks and Bucks. Both losses came by a single point where Washington could have come away with victories by making just one more critical play. On the second night of a tough travel back-to-back from Milwaukee to Tampa and still having to wake up for an 8 am COVID test, the Wizards nearly gave away the win multiple times to the Raptors but were eventually victorious in overtime, 131-129.
Bradley Beal gets a good look from 3, but can't hit and Wizards lose pic.twitter.com/5fw6Yzaeoh
— Hoop District (@Hoop_District) May 2, 2021
Bradley Beal missed a potential game-winner in Dallas and Pat Connaughton hit back-to-back three-pointers in the final two minutes in Milwaukee otherwise the Wizards could be on a six-game winning streak and the 8-seed in the Eastern Conference. Nonetheless, Washington (31-36) is still just 1.5 games back of the 8-seed Charlotte Hornets (32-34) and 0.5 games back of the 9-seed Indiana Pacers (31-35). Getting to the 8-seed is supremely more valuable than the 9-seed because it’s the difference between needing to win just one of two games or back-to-back games to earn a playoff series.
Washington is finding ways to win even when Bradley Beal is pestered with a box-and-1 defense or Russell Westbrook has an inefficient shooting night. Raul Neto continues to be a great free agency signing for Tommy Sheppard at the veteran’s minimum as the Brazilian native dropped a career-high 25 points vs. Toronto. Even Robin Lopez who is making his at times goofy-looking hook shots at an absurdly high percentage had 24 points on just 6-for-8 shooting with 14 free throw attempts. It may not always be pretty or the cleanest of victories, but Washington is finding ways to take care of business that they were not capable of doing earlier in the season.
The Wizards’ final five games of the regular season are on the road against the Pacers and Hawks twice before returning home to play the Cavaliers and Hornets. Washington’s final regular-season matchup on May 16 may just determine the 8-seed in the play-in games.