Wizards beat Celtics to clinch fifth seed

The SportsXchange/Reuters

Posted at Apr 17 2014 11:39 AM | Updated as of Apr 17 2014 07:39 PM

BOSTON -- The Washington Wizards, set to make their first NBA playoff appearance since 2008, captured the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference by finishing their regular season with a 118-102 victory over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night.

The Wizards (44-38) clinched the sixth spot with the win and then the fifth seed with the Brooklyn Nets' loss in Cleveland. The Wizards will face No. 4 Chicago in the first round of the playoffs.

The Celtics finished with 57 losses, the third-worst total in franchise history. Boston went 13-43 after a high-water mark of 12-14 and lost 11 of its last 13.

While the Celtics now await the lottery with two first-round picks, the Wizards, 19-11 since the All-Star break, have more basketball to play.

Guard Bradley Beal led six Wizards (all five starters) in double figures with 27 points. He also grabbed seven rebounds.

Washington forward Trevor Booker scored all 20 of his points in the first half, guard John Wall had 15 points and nine assists, center Marcin Gortat added 15 points and 10 rebounds and forwards Trevor Ariza and Nene contributed 13 points and 12 points, respectively.

Rookie forward Kelly Olynyk led the short-handed Celtics with 24 points and seven rebounds. Forward Jeff Green scored 20 points, guard Avery Bradley finished with 18 points and forward Brandon Bass had 16 points and seven rebounds. Rookie point guard Phil Pressey had 10 assists and nine points.

With four players hurt, the Celtics dressed 10 players, but guard Rajon Rondo and forward Jared Sullinger could not play. That left Boston with eight, and its entire three-man bench and starting point guard Phil Pressey were all undrafted players.

The Wizards came out on fire, going 17-for-22 from the field in the first 9:44 of the game and led by as many as 15 points in the first quarter. They finished the half shooting 61.7 percent from the floor and were up by 12 at the break.

Boston opened the second half with eight straight points, six by Olynyk, and trailed by just four. The teams traded 6-0 spurts, but the Wizards finished the quarter on a 13-2 run -- including six straight points by Gortat -- to lead by 16.

Washington forward Al Harrington left the game and headed for the locker room in the second quarter. He received stitches above the left eye but returned in the fourth quarter.

With their team ending a long, tough season and down by 21 points late, the home crowd chanted, "Let's Go Celtics."