The league’s most valuable player and its runner-up combined for an explosive match-up in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals on Tuesday that, as Curry later put it, made for “entertaining basketball.”
Converting from power to speed and space took the Wizards about six months. Playoff matchups necessitating and inviting the change finally turned Washington from its thundering frontcourt approach into a team willing to do what so much of the league was doing.
Wall was asked to increase his defense at the start of the season. The Wizards believed he did that, and his efforts received validation Wednesday when he was named to the NBA’s all-defensive second team.
The Timberwolves, who finished with the worst record last season, won the NBA draft lottery on Tuesday night, making them the first team since 2004 to hold onto the top slot.
Gortat cited personal issues and did not go into specifics when addressing why his productivity suffered during the season, but blamed only himself and said that he will move on from it next year.
Parity in the modern world of professional sports has made winning a title very difficult, though the heartbreak associated with a premature ending can quickly be washed away with optimism.
Players packed their belongings and departed from Verizon Center on Monday, with John Wall acknowledging he will see a hand specialist in Cleveland and others pondering uncertain contract situations.
The recent losses by the Wizards and Capitals in the second round should be hard to stomach, considering the city’s major sports teams never seem to be able to get past that obstacle.
A 17-year career in the books, Pierce, who emerged as the Wizards’ leader down the stretch and into the playoffs, holds an option for next year but could be tempted to join the Clippers, Celtics — or retire.
The dry-erase board in the locker room which supplies scribbled out information of what’s next had the schedule for Monday. No more practice or flight times. Only a gathering of belongings, meetings with coach Randy Wittman and a group talk.
Pierce came to Washington to infuse the Wizards with his brazen confidence, his veteran experience and his championship moxie. And that’s the truth.
Pierce, the hero after banking in a buzzer-beater in Game 3, was ruled to have taken his shot from the left corner too late, giving the Hawks a 94-91 victory over the Wizards and sending them to the next round.