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Wake Up Call: Wizards get an easy win before the schedule gets tough

The Celtics gave the Wizards few problems on Saturday night prior to the Wizards embarking on a 5 game trip out west.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

1. The Wizards win season series against the Celtics

Playing in their final "easy" game before a tough upcoming stretch of games, the Wizards did not mess around in handily defeating Boston 101-88.  Washington came out of the gate firing, forcing Boston turnovers (8 in the first quarter), dominating the boards, and converting on the offensive end.  The Wizards led by 18 after the first quarter and the Celtics never managed to make it much of a game.   Only a late 4th quarter run made the score look somewhat respectable for Boston.

Our recap is here.  Other accounts of the game can be found herehere and here.

2. Humphries and Pierce go off on their old squad.

Everybody knows that Kris Humphries played for Boston last year, but did you know that Paul Pierce was once a Celtic as well?  It's true!  Both players showed their old team what they let get away in a beatdown of the beantown squad at the Verizon Center on Saturday.  Pierce led the way, hitting all 4 of his shots, including 2 threes, on the way to 11 points, 2 assists and 2 steals in the first quarter.  Pierce ended up with 17 points on the game despite playing under 19 minutes.  Humphries joined in the fun off the bench, adding 8 points in the first and leading all Wizards in scoring (18 points) and rebounding (9 boards) in just 24 minutes of action.

3. Are the Wizards Elite?

The Wizards have established themselves in the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference. They have certainly beaten the teams that they are supposed to beat, and have victories over some other solid teams like the Cavs and the Clippers. That said, they don't have a great record against the top teams in the East, and haven't really  been tested by the best in the West.  The Wizards can change that over the next two weeks, heading on a Western road trip that sees them face some of the best teams in the NBA in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Oklahoma City.

Paul Pierce spoke about this challenge after last night's game:

It is a test, we get a chance to play against some of the upper echelon Western Conference teams. It will be a great measuring stick about where we are. We know we are an upper echelon team in the East. But we know if we want to be champions, this is an opportunity with the East being wide open for us to get to the Finals, for us to gage where we are as an elite team in this league."

When asked if he considers the Wizards an elite team, Pierce had a simple answer: "Without question."

4. Just how tough is this upcoming stretch?

Pretty brutal.  Their next 5 games are on the road against Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Oklahoma City and New Orleans. After playing the Knicks at home, they then go on to face the Bulls at home, travel to Atlanta and then play the Spurs at home before travelling to to Chicago.
As tough as this coming road trip sounds, there is some cause for cautious optimism. Houston and Dallas are working to integrate major new additions into their rotations, and the Wizards get the Rockets on the second day of a back to back. The Spurs have not been themselves recently, losing 7 of their last ten games, which included a loss to the Lakers at home. Kevin Durant may still be recovering from an ankle injury has cost him several recent games.  
The Wizards, on the other hand, are getting close to full health, with Martell Webster's imminent return and Nene returning to the starting lineup.  So while there is never a great time to have a road schedule like this, there certainly could have been worse times.
It's time to hit the road.