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Morning tip: This is why Wizards still like chances in East

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Morning tip: This is why Wizards still like chances in East

As the East stands, the Wizards are in 10th place at 23-28 but below the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors the conference still is up for grabs. 

Usually, a team or two catches fire after the All-Star break -- the trade deadline is Thursday at 3 p.m. -- and another team or two completely bottoms out to play their way out of the playoff picture.

This is where all nine teams above them stand and their road maps going forward:

1. Cavaliers: 30 games left. Only three games separate them from the second team so this seed isn't secured by any stretch. They have a murderous schedule out of the break, vs. Bulls, at Thunder, vs. Pistons, vs. Hornets, at Raptors, at Wizards, vs. Pacers, vs. Wizards, vs. Celtics and vs. Grizzlies. Any slippage or small losing streak means they won't be able to rest LeBron James, 31, like they did at the end of the regular season last year to ready for the playoffs.

2. Raptors: 30 games left. They've still got the Knicks and Nets twice, a Feb. 26 meeting with the Cavs which will determine who wins the season series which is crucial for seeding in the event of a tie and two games left vs. the Celtics who they've already beaten twice. They've got an easier path than the Cavs to end the season. They have a stretch beginning Feb. 21 when 10 of 12 games are at Air Canada Centre.

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3. Celtics: 27 games left. Most are against Western Conference teams (14) and they've still got games with the Pacers and Hawks who have each beaten them twice in as many meetings. They have the Raptors twice (0-2 season series), the Thunder, Warriors and Cavs remaining. They also have a five-game swing out West that begins March 26 that can be back-breaking in a close race or put them over the top. And that comes just after a stretch of 3 of 4 games on the road.

4. Hawks: 27 games left. The first five games out of the break are at Phillips Arena, including a game with the Warriors. Immediately after that, there's a five-game road swing, including at the Warriors, Clippers and Raptors. They're just 16-11 at home and sub-.500 on the road. There are three meetings on tap with the Wizards, who can basically make up almost all of their ground alone with Atlanta.

5. Heat: 29 games left. Three with the Bulls (1-0), two vs. Pistons (0-2), vs. Wizards (1-2), vs. Pacers (1-2), Warriors (0-1), Spurs (0-1), at Celtics twice (0-1) and at Raptors (1-2). This is where the Heat ran out of gas last season with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh out of the lineup. Bosh, who missed the All-Star Game with a calf strain, is facing another blood clot scare that shut him down late last year. 

6. Pacers: 29 games left. They return from the break with a three-game road trip starting at the Thunder then have six of seven on the road, including at Cavs, Hornets, Wizards, Mavs and Hawks which is then followed by a three-game homestand vs. the Celtics, Raptors and Thunder. This isn't a good road team (11-16) that was .500 in its last 10 games.

7. Bulls: 30 games left. They've dropped six of their last seven going into the break and come back at the Cavs and home against the Raptors. They're still without their best player, Jimmy Butler (knee) for a few more weeks. The Wizards are in Chicago on Feb. 24, but relatively speaking they don't have a monster schedule. They have one more meeting each with the Cavs, Wizards and Raptors, two with the Hawks and Rockets and three with the Heat.  

8. Hornets: 29 games left. This is a loose grip on a playoff spot because a six-game road trip begins now, ending with the Cavs, Pacers and Hawks for a team that's 8-17 away from Time Warner Cable Arena. Then there are home games vs. the Pacers, Pistons, Rockets, Mavs and Spurs followed by road games with the Cavs, Raptors, Wizards and Celtics. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is out again (shoulder tear) while Al Jefferson (knee) is out but could be close to returning.

9. Pistons: 28 games left. A lot of tough road games remain, at the Wizards (twice), Cavs (twice), Spurs, Mavs and Hornets. There also two more meetings with the Hawks and Heat and one with the Bulls and Raptors. The Pistons have a home game with the Wizards, too, which is more than enough opportunities to make up ground or create separation.

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

Instead of visiting the White House when they come to Washington this week to play the Wizards, the defending-champion Golden State Warriors plan to hold an event with D.C.-area kids.

Their invitation was rescinded by president Donald Trump following a back-and-forth between the two sides last year. After the Warriors won the title, they openly questioned whether they should follow the tradition given many of the players and coaches disagree with his policies. Trump took the opportunity away before they came to a final decision.

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The Warriors' event will be closed off to the media and held at an undisclosed location. It is set for Tuesday, the day before they play the Wizards at Capital One Arena. The Warriors had the option of holding a ceremony with other politicians in the Democratic party, but decided that would send the wrong message. 

"It's their championship. They got disinvited to the White House, so it's up to them what they wanted to do. So they made their plans," coach Steve Kerr said. "I want the players to have a good day and to do something positive and to enjoy what they're doing."

The Warriors are the first NBA team to make this choice since Trump was elected president. Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers held their celebration with president Barack Obama in November. They did so just days after Trump was elected and LeBron James questioned at the time whether he would visit the White House with Trump in office.

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Sports teams visiting the White House goes back to the mid-1800s. The first World Series title team to visit was the 1924 Washington Senators. By the 1960s, NBA teams were going and by the 1980s NFL and NHL teams made it a tradition.

Entire teams snubbing the White House is unusual, but many players have turned down the opportunity. In the NBA, some famous cases include Larry Bird in 1984 and Michael Jordan in 1991, according to Rolling Stone.

Perhaps the Warriors start a trend, or maybe it will be a one-off thing. Regardless, the alternative they chose is a respectable one. 

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

Here are the five best plays or moments from the Wizards' 122-105 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night...

1. This was a tough one for the Wizards. For the third time this season, they got beaten by the Hornets and for the second straight time it was in a blowout.

They still had their moments, though, including this alley-oop from Tomas Satoransky (11 points) to Markieff Morris (13 points, eight assists, six rebounds). It was the second alley-oop connection for those two in as many games:

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2. This was a play that encapsulated the Wizards' night. Jodie Meeks drew a flagrant foul on Michael Carter-Williams, but took a hard shot to the head:

3. Kelly Oubre, Jr. had a solid game with 11 points, including this big dunk:

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4. Speaking of Oubre, he helped the Wizards close the first half with a late surge. The real highlight was Bradley Beal stealing the ball and hitting a corner three at the buzzer:

5. Beal ended up with 33 points, six assists and six rebounds. Here's an and-1 he got to go down in the second half:

All in all, it was an ugly performance for the Wizards. To cheer you up, we'll leave you with this young fan who had a great time at Capital One Arena despite the result:

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