The Washington Wizards have received their new schedule to close out the 2019-20 regular season following the NBA's hiatus and it is not an easy road. They have eight games remaining and, because the league is only bringing 22 teams to Orlando, FL, they will only face teams either in the playoff picture or right outside of it.
Here's how it breaks down. A reminder that all games are eastern time and will take place at Disney World.
July 31 vs. Phoenix Suns, 4 p.m.
Aug. 2 vs. Brooklyn Nets, 2 p.m.
Aug. 3 vs. Indiana Pacers, 4 p.m.
Aug. 5 vs. Philadelphia 76ers, 4 p.m.
Aug. 7 vs. New Orleans Pelicans, 8 p.m.
Aug. 9 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, 12:30 p.m.
Aug. 11 vs. Milwaukee Bucks, 9 p.m.
Aug. 13 vs. Boston Celtics, TBA
That is not going to be easy. You start with the Suns, who have the second-worst record among the teams in Orlando. But they will have to see the NBA-best Bucks and the Celtics who are third in the East, as well as some tough playoff-bound teams like the Pacers, Sixers and Thunder.
The good news is the NBA made a change to prevent the Wizards from playing the Celtics and Bucks twice. The league pulled from each team's original schedule, and their original schedule had two games against the Celtics and Bucks from March 13 to March 27.
The Wizards will get to see No. 1 overall pick and rookie sensation, Zion Williamson, for the first time when they play the Pelicans on Aug. 7. And they will also face Victor Oladipo for the first time this season when they see the Pacers, as he missed much of this year due to injury.
The Wizards will go up against these teams as they strive to make the playoffs. They are currently the ninth seed in the East and 5 1/2 games back from the Orlando Magic. Per the NBA's return-to-play rules, the Wizards have to pull within four games of Orlando to force a play-in tournament before the playoffs.
In these eight games, the Wizards will have only have one great opportunity to directly help their playoff cause. They have one game against the Nets, who are seventh in the East and just a half-game up on Orlando. They lead the 24-40 Wizards by six games.
If the Wizards qualified as the ninth-seed, they would have to beat the eight-seed twice. But to get there, they have to go through this gauntlet of a schedule first.
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