EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

April 3, 2014

Wizards beat Celts to clinch playoff berth


The Eagle-Tribune

---- — WASHINGTON (AP) — John Wall was waving his towel as time expired. He joined his teammates at center court and did a little dance in the middle of a celebratory huddle. He gave Bradley Beal a bear hug from behind and also hugged and thanked coach Randy Wittman.

Wall will soon be making his playoff debut, and the Washington Wizards will be there for the first time since 2008, having clinched an Eastern Conference berth last night with a 118-92 win over the Boston Celtics. It was Boston’s worst loss of the season

“It’s everything I’ve been waiting for,” said Wall, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft, “as being a point guard, and trying to learn how to lead in this league, and become a better player. But also I think the fans deserve it. I mean, the tough times they’ve been through, booing us and us feeling bad when we’re not playing good or playing the right way.”

Wall had 13 points and 10 assists in one of the Wizards’ easiest wins in recent history. It was their biggest margin of victory this season, and their 62.5 shooting percentage was their best in a game since 2001.

Jared Sullinger had 25 points, and Rajon Rondo had 13 to lead the Celtics, who have lost six in a row and 11 of 12 — and also 11 straight on the road. They never led the Wizards, trailed 19-4 after barely more than five minutes and allowed Washington to shoot 61 percent in the first half. They shot 4 for 18 with six turnovers in the third quarter and 3 for 24 from 3-point range for the game.

“We laid an egg. It’s pretty obvious,” Boston coach Brad Stevens said.

“We didn’t provide any fight tonight.”

Avery Bradley missed the game with a strained right Achilles. He was hurt in the first half of Monday’s loss to the Chicago Bulls. It was the largest margin of defeat for the Celtics this season.