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|Although the standings indicate the Washington Wizards are headed to the postseason this weekend Daniel Winnik Jersey , they are staggering to the finish.
The Wizards will be making their fourth playoff appearance in the last five seasons and hope to finish the regular season on a good note when they visit the Orlando Magic on Wednesday.
Even when John Wall was sidelined while recovering from a knee injury, the Wizards rose to as high as fourth in East. Now Washington (43-3 is eighth after Wall collected 29 points and 11 assists in his fourth game back during a 113-101 home win over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday.
Washington holds the same record as the Miami Heat, who are hosting the top-seeded Toronto Raptors on Wednesday. The Wizards are 7-12 in their last 20 games after they won 10 of 13 games from Jan. 27-Feb. 27
To get the sixth seed Washington must beat Orlando while Milwaukee and Miami lose. To get the seventh seed, Washington must win Wednesday and get a loss by either the Heat or Bucks, who are visiting Philadelphia.
A sixth seed would earn Washington a matchup with Cleveland or Philadelphia, while the seventh seed means a matchup against Boston and a rematch of last season’s hard-fought seven-game series in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
“Being in the playoffs is not disappointing,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks told reporters ahead of Tuesday’s game. “With where we are, sure I’d love to be in a higher seed. We’re worried about ourselves, we gotta play better. We gotta string some games together, have a good showing the next two games. Competitive spirit on both ends and for each other.”
The Wizards beat the Celtics after getting a film session of recent games and playoff games from last season
“Looking at the things we were doing over the course of the year, over the course of the last couple games,” Wizards guard Bradley Beal told reporters. “Just seeing our demeanor and our approach and seeing two different teams. They showed us clips of us last year in the playoffs. Just our intensity, our focus, our grit and grind, attention for detail for everything was a lot better. So, that’s who we need to be.”
Orlando (24-57) is 5-14 in its last 19 games and 16-24 at home this season. Wednesday could also be the final game for coach Frank Vogel John Klingberg Jersey , who was hired before last season under the previous regime.
Vogel is 53-110 and has two years remaining on his contract, though the team is under new management in first-year president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman and new general manager John Hammond.
This season, the Magic began 8-4 but dropped 27 of their 31 games. The team’s rotation players have missed a total of 224 games due to injuries.
“I think he’s done the best job he could,” Orlando center Nikola Vucevic told reporters. “Last year, he came in and he had a team that was just put together — a lot of new players. It didn’t work out. We just couldn’t get things together on the court at all. It looked good on paper. On the court, it never clicked. So, it was a tough situation.”
In their last home appearance, the Magic dropped a 137-100 decision to the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday and then followed it up with double-digit losses at Toronto and Milwaukee.
In Monday’s 102-86 loss to the Bucks, the Magic missed 19 of 24 3-point shots and couldn’t keep pace defensively in their 25th double-digit loss of the season. Orlando also dropped to 6-22 against Eastern Conference playoff teams.
“It’s been the case all season. Our defense has never been consistent enough,” Vogel said.
Vucevic led the Magic with 17 points and has six double-doubles in his last seven games.
The Wizards have averaged 123.3 points in winning the first three meetings against Orlando and are trying to sweep the season series for the fourth time in five seasons. Washington also is 17-2 in the last 19 meetings.
CLEVELAND (AP) — Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon was back at practice on Sunday — as a spectator.
Gordon visited with teammates and Hall of Famer Jim Brown a day after ending his three-week absence from training camp and missing the first two exhibition games to work on his mental health and sobriety. The former Pro Bowler appeared to be in a good mood — and in excellent shape — as he stayed to the side and worked with trainers on his conditioning.
Gordon, who has missed most of the past four seasons because of violations of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, has not been cleared to practice. He may attend meetings and practices but is prohibited from being on the field.
No timetable has been set for Gordon’s return, but coach Hue Jackson said Saturday it’s possible he could play in the Sept. 9 season opener against Pittsburgh.
Wide receiver Jarvis Landry feels the same.
“Yeah, I mean, why not?” Landry said. “He’s been training this whole time, so we expect him to be ready. I’m sure he will be Nikita Zaitsev Jersey Kids , but at the end of the day, we’re just happy to have him back.”
The 27-year-old Gordon excused himself from the team just before training camp opened last month. Gordon, who has not yet spoken to the media, said in a statement that he’s humbled at being back with the Browns and “I realize in order for me to reach my full potential my primary focus must remain on my sobriety and mental well-being.”
Gordon led the league with 1,646 yards receiving in 2013, when he burst onto the scene and became one of the league’s most dynamic players.
Landry was a junior at LSU and remembers it well.
“When you have a year, especially the one that Josh had, it brings eyes to that, it brings everybody’s to it,” Landry said. “He’s an extremely great talent in this league and he’s physically gifted and it shows. And that’s what you want to see.”
Landry feels that with Gordon on the field, defenses will have a hard time focusing on any one Cleveland receiver.
“He’s a playmaker, he’s a guy that’s going to give us the ability to do a lot of things,” Landry said. “I’m excited to play with him. I’m excited to work with him, compete with him, and that’s what’s going to help us get to the level that we need to be at to win games.”