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Playoff forecast bleak as Wizards head west


Playoff forecast bleak as Wizards head west

There are only 10 games remaining in the 2015-16 regular season for the Wizards. Barring a major change in projections, they will be the final games played by Washington this season. 

Following Friday's 132-129 double-overtime loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Wizards need more than Kelly Oubre's 7-foot-2 wingspan to reach the postseason now. Combined with the Detroit Pistons win over the Charlotte Hornets, Washington (35-37) sits 3.5 games back of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The surging Pistons (39-34), winners of five straight, and the Indiana Pacers (38-33) are essentially tied for seventh in the East. The Wizards must also pass the Chicago Bulls (36-35) along the way. 

Adding to the gloomy scenario, the Wizards play seven of their 10 games on the road, including a five-game trip against Western Conference opponents which begins Sunday at the Los Angeles Lakers.

According to the analytics website FiveThirtyEight.com, the Wizards have a 12 percent chance of reaching the playoffs. That forecast is downright rosy compared to the 3.6 percent change offered by BasketballReference.com.

Coming back home with a winning rod trip was already a must. Following the gut punch loss, expectations went up a notch.

“Win. We gotta win," guard Garrett Temple stated. "I said before this game that we needed to win this one and then come back over .500 from the West Coast road trip. We still need to do that. We gotta win at least four instead of at least three.”

Winning four means beating either the league-leading Golden State Warriors (65-7) or the Los Angeles Clippers (44-27) or both. After starting against the Lakers (15-57), the Wizards play the Warriors, Sacramento Kings (28-44), Phoenix Suns (20-52) and Clippers.

Reminder: Golden State is 34-0 at home this season.

Another reminder: The Lakers, Clippers and Warriors already beat the Wizards this season in Washington.

Final reminder: With the season on the brink, Washington lost to a 23-win Minnesota team at home.

At this point all the Wizards can do is follow Temple's advice: Win and win a lot. Finish 8-2 and Washington ends the season 43-41. The Wizards own the tiebreaker over the Pistons, meaning Detroit needs a 5-4 finish to reach 44 wins.

At this point, scoreboard watching doesn't matter much.

“Help yourselves," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said of his message to the team before the trip begins. "I'm being honest. Are we gonna carry it over again? We have an opportunity to go into LA, a team that's been up and down all year. A team that beat us here. There should be no, oh we can just walk in. That's what I tell them. We gotta end this. You gotta end it. You gotta make it six out of eight. You gotta take it like that. That's what I tell them.”

[RELATED: Wizards' loss Friday a 'perfect illustration' of their season]

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2018 NBA Playoffs Wizards-Raptors Game 4: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

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2018 NBA Playoffs Wizards-Raptors Game 4: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and the Washington Wizards battle Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Serge Ibaka and the Toronto Raptors on Sunday night in Game 4 of the 2018 NBA Playoffs.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:


Series: Raptors lead 2-1
Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 6 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (pregame coverage begins at 5 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Time to get even

After a momentous Game 3 win, the Wizards have breathed some life back into their season. On Sunday, they can make this a brand new series.

With a win in Game 4 for the Wizards, they would tie the series and send it back to Toronto ensuring another home game in Washington. A loss would put them down 3-1, a deficit that has historically been hard to overcome.

Only 11 teams have accomplished the feat, most notably the Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals. The Warriors did the same that year in the conference finals. It has only been done three times since 2006. 

How will Raptors respond?

Game 3 took on a much different tone and style than the previous two and it played into the Wizards' hands. It was much more physical and Washington did a good job of instigating contact and using it to their advanage. After the game, several players highlighted Markieff Morris shoving OG Anunoby and Serge Ibaka as a turning point.

Just because it worked in Game 3 doesn't mean it will carry over successfully in Game 4. Not only could the Raptors respond with their own dose of brutality, but the referees may try to nip anything of the sort in the bud early on.

It would not be surprising if Game 4 was officiated very tightly and if a message was sent in the first quarter to the players. After seeing how well it worked in Game 3, the Wizards will likely try to test the limits.

Playoff Beal

The Raptors will also try to adjust their defense following Bradley Beal's 28-point outburst in Game 3. He wasn't much of a factor in the first two games of the series, but broke out in Game 3 to lead the Wizards to a win.

The Wizards did a good job of getting Beal involved early. He was found for open looks from three in the first half and had two three-pointers in each of the first two quarters. Beal also took it upon himself to attack the rim and force the issue.

The Raptors held Beal back in the first two games by being rough with him and in Game 2 they got him in foul trouble. Surely he will be a big emphasis of their gameplan on Sunday.

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For more on the Wizards-Raptors series, check out or latest Wizards Tipoff podcast:

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The Wizards dominated Game 3 because everybody ate ... literally

The Wizards dominated Game 3 because everybody ate ... literally

The Wizards returned to Washington, D.C. on Friday down 0-2 to the Raptors in their best-of-seven 2018 NBA Playoffs first-round series

The team lost a close one in Game 1 and was run out of the building in Game 2. Game 3 was must-win, and the Wizards knew what needed to happen in order for them to secure the victory.

"Everybody eats." 

That's the phrase that has defined the Wizards throughout much of the season They are at their best when John Wall is making plays and feeding his teammates.

On Friday night, the Wizards beat the Raptors 122-103 to force at least a Game 5. Wall finished with 28 points and 14 assists.

Bradley Beal finally broke out of his slump for 28 points and  Marcin Gortat, Mike Scott and Kelly Oubre all chipped in with at least 10 points.

But the stat sheet wasn't the only place where everybody eats.

Here's Marcin Gortat from Game 3. 

But if pantomiming isn't your thing, here is Bradley Beal actually eating popcorn during Game 3.

So what did we learn in Game 3? Well, for starters: "Everybody Eats" is not just a motto, it is a way of life.