Only so much celebrating can be done by the Wizards after clinching the franchise's first playoff spot in six years. They're still in danger of dropping in the standings and have a pivotal back-to-back against red-hot teams, starting with the New York Knicks on Friday (CSN, 7:30 p.m. ET).
"We are thinking like we won the championship. It was just a simple win," center Marcin Gortat said after Wednesday's 26-point rout of the Boston Celtics. "It was obviously good to clinch the spot in the playoffs, but we still got seven games to play and we just got to perform. We got to perform. It’s not over yet."
The Knicks have won 12 of their last 17 games and are in a battle for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. The Chicago Bulls, who play the Wizards at Verizon Center on Saturday, have won eight of their last 11. The Wizards last swept a season series with the Knicks in 1984-85.
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"Don't let off the gas," Wizards forward Trevor Ariza said. "That's the mentality we have to have. Got to stay hungry, stay on our grind to keep our seeding or whatever the case may be. Just to prepare for the playoffs. That's a totally different ballgame."
TV: The pregame show Wizards Central is on CSN at 7 p.m. ET. Tipoff from Madison Square Garden is 7:30 and Wizards Postgame Live immediately follows the conclusion. Radio: 1500 AM.
Last game: Wizards (39-36) beat Boston Celtics on Wednesday; Knicks (33-43) beat Brooklyn Nets 110-81 on Wednesday.
Last meeting: Washington won 102-101 at MSG on a game-winning layup by Bradley Beal on Dec. 16. Season series: Wizards lead 2-0.
Projected starting lineups: Wizards –- PG John Wall, SG Bradley Beal, SF Trevor Ariza, PF Trevor Booker, C Marcin Gortat. Knicks –- PG Raymond Felton, SG J.R. Smith, SF Carmelo Anthony, PF Amar'e Stoudemire, C Tyson Chandler.
X-factor: Felton, who has been injured in the first two meetings, has bruised ribs but said he expects to play.
Around the bend: The Wizards return to D.C. after the game and will play the Chicago Bulls at Verizon Center on Saturday (CSN+, 7).