Marcin Gortat dunks down 2 of his career-high 12 points in the Orlando Magic's 103-83 win over the Washington Wizards.
Photo by Fernando Medina, NBAE/Getty Images
The regular-season finale was everything it was cracked-up to be.
Washington benched its stars, and I get the sense the only reason DeShawn Stevenson played was to keep his consecutive games played streak alive. Meanwhile, we rested our best players: Dwight Howard didn't play after the first quarter; Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu didn't play after halftime; and Jameer Nelson didn't play at all due to a sore thumb. The result?
18 points for J.J. Redick. 12 points and 11 boards for Marcin Gortat. 8 points and 5 rebounds for James Augustine. A 20-point victory. A 52-win season.
An unmitigated success.
If anything else, this game showed two things: first, that J.J. can shoot his way out of a funk, something I wasn't sure he could do. His final total of 18 points on 14 shots isn't all that impressive, sure, but he made 7 of his last 9 shots after missing his first 5. That's a good sign. But even more encouraging is the hustle and skill Marcin Gortat displayed. The Polish rookie had 5 offensive boards, and although he missed plenty of the gimme put-backs, he showed that he might belong in the rotation someday, perhaps even as a 5-to-8 minute player next season when Howard and Adonal Foyle both need breathers.
Now? It's playoff time. Bring on the Raptors.