Perhaps Gortat is a lover and not a fighter after all. A few weeks back, the Polish big man suggested that the NBA allow mano-a-mano, NHL-style brawls to help players settle their differences on the court. Now? It's apparently nothing but hugs for Gortat, who wrapped his arms around Jared Sullinger and Rajon Rondo during the third quarter of Washington's blowout victory.
With a little more than four minutes remaining in the period and Washington up comfortably 74-57, Gortat moseyed on over to Boston's team gathering prior to a pair of free throws. This was a next-level reconnaissance mission, clearly, because none of the Celtics noticed his presence, and Rondo even wrapped his left arm around Gortat's waist.
The sequence lasted just a few seconds before Gortat and his adversaries broke the huddle to take their places for the free throws.
All in all, it was a day of merriment for the Wizards, who officially clinched their first trip to the playoffs since 2008. Considering all of the franchise's drama over the last six years -- Gilbert Arenas, Javaris Crittenton, Andray Blatche and five straight seasons with less than 27 victories -- Gortat surely wasn't the only person in Washington's locker room with an extra pep to his step on Wednesday.
Gortat, who was acquired by Washington from Phoenix in a trade just before the start of the season, finished with a team-high 22 points (on 10-for-13 shooting), eight rebounds and four assists. Bradley Beal added 19 points (on 7-for-9 shooting), two rebounds and two assists for Washington.
Sullinger led the Celtics with a game-high 25 points (on 8-for-15 shooting) and four rebounds. Rondo added 13 points (on 6-for-13 shooting), seven rebounds and six assists in a losing effort. Washington improved to 39-36 with the victory. Boston dropped to 23-52 with its sixth straight loss.