The Wizards are fighting for their playoff lives, and if not the playoffs, then at least the play-in tournament.
“It’s up to us. We could kind of control our own destiny,” shooting guard Bradley Beal told reporters. “I know it starts with me, so I just make sure I’m locked in, make sure I’m ready to go and make sure guys are ready to go too and understand that every game is important, every possession is important.”
- Rookie guard Johnny Davis has appeared in just 14 games this season, but scored a career-high 11 points vs. the Pistons on Tuesday. “I haven’t seen him play live as much as I’d like,” coach Wes Unseld Jr. said. “There’s only one way to see him: play him. … He looked great. It’s a confidence boost for him.”
With the playoffs seemingly on the line, the Raptors returned from a five-game trip and play six of their next seven at home. They are 21-13 at home this season.
“This time of the year, I think who we are as a group, we just need to keep being positive no matter what,” guard Fred VanVleet said, via Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. “A couple of tough losses is definitely a shot in the gut to your morale and your energy but I think, from practice to shootaround to locker rooms to plane rides or whatever, we just got to stay positive and keep pushing forward and I think that’s going to put ourselves in the best position.”
- Coach Nike Nurse more or less echoed those sentiments. “We’ve got to win just to get in. We want to get in, we want to have a chance,” he said, via Smith.
The Bucks became the first team to clinch a playoff spot, courtesy of a road win over the Suns on Wednesday in a 2021 Finals rematch.
“We just have a good balance on our team,” Bucks guard Jrue Holiday said. ”At any given moment, somebody can explode.”
And they are looking like more than just an everyday playoff team lately — winning 21 of their past 23 games.
“We just mentioned it in the coaches’ locker room to appreciate this,” coach Mike Budenholzer said. “Making the playoffs in this league is hard. You should never take anything for granted.”
- Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo added that it’s important to remain focused. “We are good. We are in a good place right now,” he said. “We got to keep on learning, staying humble.”
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