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Projections have Wizards odds on favorite for playoffs


Projections have Wizards odds on favorite for playoffs

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.


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.

RELATED: Morning tip: Wizards come out ahead in Markieff Morris trade

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Wizards to give fans Phil Chenier emoji signs and 1978 title shirts for special weekend

Wizards to give fans Phil Chenier emoji signs and 1978 title shirts for special weekend

This weekend was already going to be special for Washington Wizards fans. Now they will get souvenirs to remember it.

As part of their celebration of Phil Chenier's legendary career and the 40th anniversary of their 1978 NBA championship, the Wizards are handing out emoji signs on Friday night and commemorative t-shirts on Sunday. All fans in attendance will receive a giveaway.


The emoji sign has Chenier's face on it and will be handed out for the March 23 game against the Nuggets. Chenier will have his jersey retired at halftime during the game. 

The emoji sign is presented by NBC Sports Washington. You're welcome, Authentic Fans.


The shirts will be given out on Sunday when the Wizards host the New York Knicks. 

Here's the front...

And the back...

Let's take a closer look at that back...

As a reporter who has received many giveaways over the years at pro sports stadiums, these are uniquely awesome. Should be a great weekend for Wizards fans. See you at the arena.


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Wizards drop to precarious position in close Eastern Conference playoff race

Wizards drop to precarious position in close Eastern Conference playoff race

As if they needed a reminder, the Wizards saw firsthand on Wednesday night just how much can change in a short period of time in the Eastern Conference playoff race where just two games separate the No. 3 and No. 6 teams.

That No. 6 team is now your Washington Wizards, who began the day in fourth place but lost their first game in four days on the same night both the Cavs and Sixers won theirs. 

The Wizards lost to the Spurs on Wednesday and managed only 90 points, their fewest since Jan. 22. It was a lackluster performance in a game the Wizards needed to treat with urgency. 

The Spurs sure did.

"We've gotta have a better mentality coming into games," guard Bradley Beal said. "The Spurs were fighting for playoff seeding just like we were."

The Wizards have now lost six of their last 10, yet all those games have come against teams currently holding playoff spots. Considering John Wall remains out with a left knee injury, it's hard to fault them too much when they are staying afloat just fine in the big picture.


The problem is that the closer they get to the end of the season, the more these losses are magnified. They amount to missed opportunities, some bigger than others.

That was not lost on Beal, who considered the alternative. If the Wizards had beaten the Spurs, they would be sitting in fourth, two spots higher, and just a game-and-a-half out of third.

"Every time we have a chance to move up, we take two steps back," Beal lamented.

The Wizards are in a high stakes part of the standings where plenty is in the balance. They are fighting for home-court advantage, something they would get in the third or fourth spots. And who they match up with will be paramount.


By falling to sixth, the Wizards are currently in line to play the Cleveland Cavaliers. Though the Pacers and Sixers are also good teams, they don't have LeBron James. Avoiding him and the Cavs would be ideal for the Wizards.

Beal has even bigger worries than that. He noted after the loss in San Antonio that they could fall even further if they aren't careful. They are now just a game-and-a-half up on the seventh-place Heat. 

"We've gotta realize what's at stake, man. The way we're going, we could keep dropping and mess around and be eighth. We've gotta do whatever it takes to win," he said.

The Wizards should be fine if the previous two months are any indication. But Wednesday night was another example of how precarious things are for them this season in the tightly-packed Eastern Conference.


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