Wizards Take Control in Playoffs

Defeat Bulls to Advance for the First Time in a Decade

Stacy M. Brown | 4/30/2014, 3 p.m.
David Winslow has spent a decade of basketball springs watching the playoffs, shouting at his television and bemoaning the fact ...

David Winslow has spent a decade of basketball springs watching the playoffs, shouting at his television and bemoaning the fact that his beloved Washington Wizards failed to compete for a championship.

With the Wizards 75-69 victory on Tuesday, April 29, which catapulted them to a second round playoff berth for the first time in 10 seasons, Winslow and other fans are no longer criticizing the Wizards, but cheering every John Wall assist, each Bradley Beal jump shot and the stellar defense the team’s shown in defeating the heavily favored Chicago Bulls in five games.

“This is why we’ve been patient with this team,” said Winslow, 47, who lives in Southeast.

“We’ve suffered with all of the losses and all of the years they failed to make the playoffs or get past the first round. But, the front office has been making the right moves for a few years. We got Wall, Bradley [Beal] and a good veteran mix, so, how do you like us now?”

After sweeping the first two games of the best-of-7 first round series on the road, the Wizards returned home to the Verizon Center in Northwest for Game 3 on April 25, and Game 4 on Sunday, April 27.

The teams split the two games in D.C., including a convincing 98-89 Wizards’ victory in Game 4.

For the pivotal Game 5 on Tuesday, April 29, the teams squared off at the United Center in Chicago where the Wizards continued their domination of the Bulls.

Now, with a trip to the conference semi-finals secured, Wall and company have the team and their fans dreaming of traveling where no Washington team – be it the Wizards or Bullets – have in more than 30 years.

“Dare we say it? I will. This is a title contender, just look at how the season unfolded and look at what they’re doing to Chicago who the experts said should have had an easy time knocking us off in this series,” said Curtis Appier, a Northwest resident who's held season tickets for 18 years.

“We had teams that had talent before with Gilbert Arenas, Larry Hughes, Antawn Jamison and some others,” Appier, 46, said of the 2004-05 squad, the last to reach the second round of the playoffs.

“The difference with this year’s team is that you have a true leader in John Wall and guys like Bradley Beal, Drew Gooden, Martell Webster, and Gortat Marcin who work really well together and who have a will that the 2004 team didn’t have,” Appier said.

The Wizards most recent postseason appearance occurred in 2008, when they lost in six games to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The last time they won a playoff series, they defeated the Bulls in six games in 2005 before being swept by the Miami Heat in the conference semi-finals.

Prior to 2005, the team suffered a 23-year drought between playoff series wins.

Also, 1979 proved to be the last time Washington Bullets won a second round series. They sprinted to the Finals but lost to the Seattle Supersonics, 4-1.