The Washington Wizards didn't pick up any ground in the actual NBA standings on the Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls despite Monday's win. The updated numbers from FiveThirtyEight.com tell a different story.
Though the Wizards (35-35) are 1 1/2 games behind the Chicago Bulls (36-33) and Detroit Pistons (37-34) for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, the data-crunching site has John Wall and crew with a better shot at reaching the postseason then those teams.http://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-nba-picks/
That's certainly interesting especially knowing what the Wizards have upcoming. Namely a rematch Wednesday with the Atlanta Hawks and five-game Western Conference road trip that includes Golden State and the Los Angeles Clippers. According to the site, "This forecast is based on 50,000 simulations of the season and accounts for travel distance, fatigue and altitude."
The Pistons won't be doing any traveling for a while as they have five games left on their crazy nine-game homestand. Detroit has won three straight, matching the Bulls for the third longest active winning streak in the East behind Toronto (4) and Washington. The Wizards dumped the Hawks Monday for their season-high fifth straight win.
Even though FiveThirtyEight has all three finishing with 42 wins, Chicago is a clear third among the group. That seems weird when noting its next two games are a home-and-home set with New York and that the final two games are against New Orleans without Anthony Davis and Philadelphia. It makes more sense when noting a meaty stretch in between where the Bulls play seven of eight games against teams in or battling for a playoff spot.
While the favorite among the three, 42% doesn't exactly make the Wizards overwhelming favorites. Plenty of work left with 12 games remaining, but what they've done over the last five put them in interesting shape. Combined with what's on deck has the numbers guys liking their chances.