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Why are Wizards-Celtics playing Game 1 Sunday when Cavs and Raptors have more rest?

Why are Wizards-Celtics playing Game 1 Sunday when Cavs and Raptors have more rest?

The Wizards finished off the Hawks in Game 6 on Friday, April 28. The Celtics-Bulls series also ended in six games on Friday. When news broke that Washington and Boston would begin their second-round series on Sunday, some fans were scratching their heads. 

Why – when the Cavaliers and Raptors finished their first-rounds on April 23 and 27, respectively – were the less rested teams starting sooner? That gives LeBron James and company a full eight days to recover. 

Conspiracy theorists will say the NBA wants James to rest as much as possible to increase the odds of a Finals rematch with the Warriors. 

But in reality, scheduling is much more complex and much less salacious than all that. First understand that there are a set of parameters that influence the process from the beginning. 

– Slotting games into programming grids is difficult, especially on networks with lots of other live content like ABC and ESPN, so it's prudent to plan for the second round before the first round even begins.  

– To simplify that process, schedulers try to keep teams on a Thursday-Saturday or Wednesday-Friday rhythmn (as allowable) and plan for each series to go seven games.

– The NBA and its broadcast partners try to take advantage of Sunday viewership by starting series on Sundays. 

Given those considerations, it's not difficult to see how Wizards-Celtics ended up on Sunday and Cavaliers-Raptors on Monday. Here's how it worked. 

Cleveland and Toronto were Thursday-Saturday teams, while Washington and Boston were Wednesday-Friday. 

If Cavs-Pacers had gone seven games, Game 7 would have been on Saturday, April 29. That meant the earliest schedulers planned to start the second round for either team would be Monday. 

Meanwhile, the Wizards and Celtics were already slotted to play Game 7s on Sunday if that had been necessary.

So when both teams won in six, it allowed the NBA to start the second-round series on a Sunday without having to change the broadcast schedule. They also had the same amount of rest going into the second round, so neither were disadvantaged by the Sunday start. 

In summation, Washington is playing Sunday because the NBA plans playoff games far in advance and wants to avoid disrupting the broadcast schedule. 

MORE WIZARDS: Wall arrives for Wizards-Celtics Game 1 in pink suit

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How to watch Pistons at Wizards ‘Predict the Game’ broadcast

How to watch Pistons at Wizards ‘Predict the Game’ broadcast

The Washington Wizards return to Capital One Arena to host the Detroit Pistons on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at 2 p.m. 

The Wizards are hoping to not only bounce back after suffering from a tough 140-111 loss in Toronto Friday night but also to snap their losing streak at home. Monday’s game will be the Wizards last home, before hitting the road until they return home on January 30th. 

The Wizards currently lead the series 2-1, the Wizards won both matchups against the Pistons on Nov.4 and Dec. 16. However, most recently the Wizards fell short 132-102 on Dec 26th. Will the Wizards be able to win the season series on Monday?

Take your Wizards experience to the next level and get involved in the action with NBC Sports Washington's newest Predict the Game contest.

'PREDICT THE GAME' HOW TO WATCH

What is this broadcast? Predict the Game is an easy-to-enter, free contest that allows fans to predict various game and player performance outcomes through a series of approximately 12-15 questions per quarter that will appear on-screen during the alternate telecast on NBC Sports Washington Plus. Predict the Game leaderboards will be displayed at select times, and the winner of each contest will be revealed throughout the game and during NBC Sports Washington’s postgame coverage.

Where can I find it? Contest questions and leaderboards will be displayed on NBC Sports Washington Plus (Channel Finder).

Additionally, the broadcast can be streamed on desktopiOS and Android devices. 

The NBC Sports Washington Plus presentation will, for the first time, feature special hosts, who will appear at various times to address Predict the Game participants and provide contest updates, information and results. The enhanced experience will contain the majority of the same video and audio (including announcers) as the primary live-game coverage, which will be available simultaneously on NBC Sports Washington.

How do I win? Fans will earn points for both answering questions (1 point) and correct predictions (1 or 2 points, depending on the question), with the top eligible scorer at the end of each game earning or splitting the $500 prize.

Each quarter will be its own contest, with an entirely new leaderboard starting from scratch, so even if fans miss out on the start of the game there will still be plenty of time to play and win. 

Fans must enter Predict the Game, which is open to join throughout the entire game, and submit their predictions at www.nbcsportswashington.com/predict.

WIZARDS vs. PISTONS HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Wizards vs. Detroit Pistons

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 2:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Wizards vs. Pistons will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (NBC Sports Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards vs. Pistons on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.

Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

WIZARDS vs. PISTONS TV SCHEDULE

1:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)

1:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live (LIVE)

2:00 PM: Wizards vs. Pistons (LIVE)

4:30 PM: Wizards Postgame Live (LIVE)

5:00 PM: D.C. Sports Live (LIVE)

5:30 PM: Wizards Talk (LIVE)

WIZARDS 2019-20 'PREDICT THE GAME' SCHEDULE

January 6: vs Boston (7 p.m.)

January 20: vs Detroit (2 p.m.)

January 26: at Atlanta (6 p.m.)

February 3: vs Golden State (7 p.m.)

February 11: vs Chicago (7 p.m.)

February 21: vs Cleveland (7 p.m.)

February 26: vs Brooklyn (7 p.m.)

March 3: at Sacramento (10 p.m.)

March 10: vs New York (7 p.m.)

March 18: at Brooklyn (7:30 p.m.)

March 15: vs Phoenix (7 p.m.)

April 1: vs New Orleans (7 p.m.)

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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Warriors' Stephen Curry could return from injury on March 1 vs Wizards

Warriors' Stephen Curry could return from injury on March 1 vs Wizards

According to The Athletic's Marcus Thompson II, Steph Curry is aiming to return to play on March 1 when the Golden State Warriors host the Washington Wizards.

This game will be second of a four-game West coast swing, starting in Utah and hitting San Francisco, Sacramento and Portland before returning home.

Curry has been sidelined since Oct. 30 with a broken left hand. He had surgery on Nov. 1 and was ruled out at least three months.

If he does indeed return on March 1, he could play in 22 more regular season games this year. There were rumors that he would sit the entire season, but apparently Curry is focused on a return this spring, according to more from Thompson II. 

"I've been making progress," Curry said via NBC Sports Bay Area during the Warriors game vs Orlando on Saturday. "No setbacks which is definitely encouraging to get back to 100% as soon as possible."

The Wizards vs Warriors game will tipoff at 8:30 p.m. EST.

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