Wizards face Cavs in first round

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Washington Wizards earned the first crack at LeBron James, and the rest of the Eastern Conference playoff picture fell into shape Wednesday night on the final night of the regular season.

All that was left was the final two spots in the West, and that wouldn't be solved until the Los Angeles Lakers faced New Orleans in one of the final games of the NBA schedule.

Washington clinched the No. 5 seed by beating the Detroit Pistons 96-80, and will open the playoffs against James and the fourth-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday. The Wizards won their final three games to vault into fifth.

"We're going into the playoffs with an edge because we really had to be sharp the last 10 games," Wizards All-Star Gilbert Arenas said. "It's a whole new season, but hopefully that'll help us."

Also in the East, the top-seeded Pistons will open Sunday night against Milwaukee, Southeast Division champion Miami will host No. 7 Chicago on Saturday, and No. 6 Indiana will visit Atlantic Division champ New Jersey on Sunday afternoon.

Victories on Wednesday night by the Bulls and Pacers set the matchups. They finished tied for sixth, but Indiana won the tiebreaker because of a better division record.

"We're relishing the opportunity to right some wrongs from the regular season," Indiana guard Anthony Johnson said. "If we do well in the playoffs, all is forgiven. We feel good about what we bring to the table. All talk is out the window and it's time to play."

The postseason opens Saturday.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: