WASHINGTON (AP) — Even with the Nos. 6, 7 and 8 seeds in the Eastern Conference all still in play for the Wizards after they beat the Boston Celtics, All-Star point guard John Wall probably will not play in Washington’s final regular-season game.
“I’m cool with whatever,” Wall said. “That’s up to Coach to make that decision.”
Wall surpassed 5,000 career assists with 12 and scored 29 points, helping the Wizards overcome Jaylen Brown’s 21 first-quarter points to top Boston 113-101 on Tuesday night and snap a four-game losing streak.
“You want to play,” Wall said. “I want to compete.”
Of course he does. And coach Scott Brooks would love to put Wall out on the floor against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday, of course. But Wall only returned to action on March 31 after missing more than two months because of surgery on his left knee, and the Wizards have not been allowing him to play on back-to-back nights.
So that’s why Brooks acknowledged that, while Wall will travel to Orlando, he “most likely” won’t play. In addition, the Wizards could be without starting small forward Otto Porter Jr., who sat out the second half against Boston after his right calf tightened up.
“Doubt if he plays,” Brooks said about Porter, “but you never know.”
For now, the Wizards are eighth in the East. Their result against the Magic, along with how Miami fares against Toronto and what Milwaukee does at Philadelphia, will determine where the Wizards, Heat and Bucks all wind up in the standings ahead of the playoffs.
The Celtics already were locked into the No. 2 seed, but they’re also without point guard Kyrie Irving the rest of the way. If the Wizards end up at No. 7, they would face Boston for the second year in a row. The Celtics eliminated the Wizards in Game 7 of the second round last season.
On Tuesday, Brown nearly outscored the entire Wizards team in the first quarter; he led them 19-17 with about a minute left. By the close of the period, the Celtics were up 30-22, and Brown was shooting 6 for 9, including 5 of 7 on 3-pointers.
“Smoke and mirrors,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said.
Brown wound up with 27 points at game’s end, as the Wizards tightened up their defense. He did not score in the second quarter — he only took one shot — and the Wizards cut their deficit to 54-52 by halftime, then led 79-72 entering the fourth.
The Celtics have lost four of their last five games.
“There has to be concern,” said Boston’s Al Horford, who had 10 points and 14 rebounds. “I know it’s the second-to-last game of the season, but we have to be better and it starts with me. I have to be able to set the tone.”
The Wizards, meanwhile, were relieved to put at least a temporary end to all of their recent losing.
Regardless of seeding, a victory was what they really needed right now.
“Being able to get a win before the playoffs start is always good,” said Bradley Beal, who scored 19 points. “Get some momentum.”
Celtics: G Shane Larkin was called for a technical foul in the fourth quarter.
Wizards: Backup C Ian Mahinmi returned to action after missing one game because of a concussion.
Wall came into the game needing nine assists to reach 5,000, and he passed for four of Washington’s first five baskets. He got to the milestone with about 4½ minutes remaining in the third quarter, assisting on a jumper by Markieff Morris. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft is the 10th active player, and 64th in NBA history, with 5,000 assists.
Celtics: Host the last-place Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday in a game that is meaningless in the standings.
Wizards: Play at the last-place Orlando Magic on Wednesday with a chance to move up to sixth or seventh in the East. But even with a victory, Washington could remain at No. 8.
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