Given the quick turnaround, less than 48 hours, between the end of the Wizards-Celtics second round series and the beginning of the Eastern Conference Finals on Wednesday, Washington players packed their suitcases for much longer than just a one-game trip to Boston. They packed for Cleveland where, if they beat the Celtics, they will be through Game 2 on Friday.
That simple fact should surprise no one given the timeframe, but the Wizards were confident in confirming those plans.
"Oh, for sure," forward Otto Porter said.
"We're going to pack for the entire week," center Ian Mahinmi said after Saturday's practice. "That's a lot of suits, but luckily I have a lot of suits."
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Few members of the Wizards have experience in Game 7s. Mahinmi does, along with Marcin Gortat, Brandon Jennings and head coach Scott Brooks. Mahinmi's advice to teammates has been to embrace the moment and the pressure can be overcome.
“Game 7s are fun," Mahinmi said. "They’re easier to prepare because it’s kind of you have to go out there and give it everything you have. It’s plain and simple. There is no, ‘I’m going to save this for the fourth quarter’, because if you lose, you go home. Mentally, you just relax and go out there and do what you’ve been doing all year. It’s kind of a privilege to get to that point where one game is going to decide your whole season basically. I’m going to tell those guys, ‘it’s nothing to overthink, just go out there and play hard.’ We’ve been playing hard. More of the same.”
Brooks is undefeated as a coach in two Game 7s. He knows the Wizards will have to be better than they were in Game 5 in Boston, when they were blown out. The Wizards haven't won in Boston since 2014.
"We're going to play much better than we played in Game 5. I can tell by our focus [at Saturday's practice]. At least I hope," he said.
Porter has never played in a Game 7, but he showed no nerves looking ahead to the matchup. He thinks the Wizards are in a good position.
"We can go there and just play our game and I think that’s what we’re going to do," he said. "All the pressure is on them."
The Wizards showed resolve in closing out Boston in Game 6 after the Celtics arrived in all-black, hoping to put on a funeral for Washington's 2016-17 season. Now they must win one more game to keep the good times rolling.