The playoff-bound Boston Celtics chose to sit seven players due to injuries and illnesses for Tuesday’s regular-season finale in D.C. against the Washington Wizards.
The lottery-bound Wizards were also less than full strength, as has been the case all season — one that mercifully came to an end with a 116-110 loss.
The Celtics won despite being without Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, Jason Tatum and Al Horford, finishing the season 49-33. Boston had little to play for, coming into the game locked in as the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, which get underway this weekend.
The game didn’t matter much for Washington (32-50), either, having been officially eliminated from postseason contention last month.
One of the few bright spots for the Wizards this year was two-time All-Star Bradley Beal, who finished with 16 points, five rebounds and four assists Tuesday despite not playing in the second half.
Beal became the first player in franchise history to average 25 points, five rebounds and five assists during the regular season.
“I said it many times: when you have a tough year, your leadership has to step up and he has,” Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said of Beal. “He plays both sides of the ball. He’s an All-NBA player. We can move forward as an organization knowing that Brad is a big part of what we do.”
Beal, 25, has played all 82 games for the past two seasons. The St. Louis native has been in discussions for a slot on one of the league’s three All-NBA teams.
“I always just try and stay humble and continue to work,” he said. “I’m definitely happy and proud of the way I played this year.”
Beal led a team that didn’t have Dwight Howard and John Wall for most of the season due to injuries.
Washington traded and released several players after the All-Star break, including forward Otto Porter Jr., who they shipped to the Chicago Bulls for Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker.
As for Wall, he rolled in on his scooter and spoke with reporters during halftime of Tuesday’s game. Wall uses a scooter to get around while wearing a boot on his left foot after Achilles’ surgery that could keep him out for possibly nine to 12 months.
He’s unsure whether he’ll play next season, but the next step is rehabilitation once the boot comes off. By the end of the summer, he said he hopes to start jogging, dribbling and shooting around.
“That’s my goal,” he said.
He praised the team’s play in his absence, but said the season “was nowhere near we thought it was going to be.”
Although Washington finished the season ranked ninth in the NBA scoring 114 points per game, it also had the second-worst defense, allowing 117 points per contest.
Washington also ranked near the bottom of the league in team rebounding with 42.
Wizards backup point guard Chasson Randle, who played some of this year with the team’s G League affiliate, Capital City Go-Go, appreciated his time in the NBA.
Randle said his offseason regimen will focus on film study, pick-and-roll offense and defense, finishing at the basket against bigger players and midrange shooting.
“I’m just proud of myself just to be able to make it back to this stage,” he said. “I learned a lot this year in the G League and on this level. I’m thankful.”