The more time the Wizards have to collect themselves and recharge, it'll likely be for the better as they wait for their second-round opponent which will be the Atlanta Hawks or Brooklyn Nets.
"Whoever comes out of that series, we can't sit here and say who do we want," said Drew Gooden. "We never played that game. We didn't play that game last year. Whoever it's going to be we're going to prepare for that opponent."
The Wizards went through the entire playbook in their first practice Tuesday after eliminating the Toronto Raptors in four games over the weekend. They sacrificed a few victories and seeding to rest key starters, John Wall, Paul Pierce and Nene, in the last few weeks of the regular season. And they still have yet to unleash all of their weapons as Kris Humphries and Rasual Butler only appeared in garbage time of their final game vs. Toronto, Garrett Temple didn't appear at all because of a right hamstring strain and Kevin Seraphin went mostly unused in the final two games.
Coach Randy Wittman has a lot of options to tinker lineups if necessary or throw 11th-hour wrinkles into his game plan. The Hawks and Nets, who'll got at least six games in their first-round series, won't have much time to prepare with Game 5 tonight and Game 6 on Friday. The second round would begin Sunday unless Game 7 is needed.
Last season, the Wizards were able to get rid of the Chicago Bulls in five games with Trevor Booker getting the playing time off the bench at power forward. In the next round vs. the Indiana Pacers, who had to go seven games in the first round, Wittman went with Gooden over Booker because he needed more size and outside shooting to open the floor for his backcourt.
Brooklyn or Atlanta will force similar changes based on their personnel. The Nets have a true back-to-the-basket center in Brook Lopez. The Raptors are more similar to the Hawks in that they are very perimeter-oriented with shooters who can get hot quickly and pile on the offense. Their post players, however, are more versatile which is why the Hawks are the No. 1 seed in the East.
"Like I told you guys coming down the stretch I didn't care if we played Toronto or Chicago," Wittman said of the 2014-15 regular season that ended with 46 wins and a No. 5 seed for the second year in a row. "I don't really get caught up in that. Either one of them poses its own problem. I don't think one is bigger than the other. Right now I want our guys to continue to focus on us, what we have to do. That's my whole message this week."
The preparation for Atlanta isn't easier because the Wizards just focused on Toronto's guard-heavy offense.
"It's two different teams," Gooden said. "You got to be aware who to double-team because when you swing it to their bigs they have Paul Millsap, Al Horford, those are bigs who can shoot or make plays with the basketball. It might be a different game plan."
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