WEEKLY OUTLOOK: Back to the regular season grindPosted on February 18, 2014 by Trevor Jackson
The Wizards are back to the regular season grind following the All-Star break. Washington currently sits at 25-27 which puts them third in the Southeast conference (.5 game behind Atlanta) and 6th overall in the Eastern Conference. Three of the Wizards four games this week are against Eastern Conference opponents, so it give them a shot at moving up (or down) in the standings.
In fact, 7 of the next 10 games for the Wizards are against the East. Only one of those teams have a winning record (Toronto, who Washington plays twice over this stretch). These next few weeks are going to make or break the Wizards chances for home court advantage. And looking even further forward, during the month of March, Washington has 16 games and only 4 of those are against teams that currently have a winning record.
There are four games on tap this week, starting with the Toronto Raptors in DC tonight.
Tuesday, 2/18: 7:00 PM vs Toronto
At 28-24 the Toronto Raptors are first overall in the Atlantic Division and currently sit as the three seed overall in the East. They are easily one of the bigger surprises in the conference, as they've played strong team basketball since they shipped out Rudy Gay. The Raps have won 6 of their last 10 games, and Washington should have this game circled big on their calendar as it is a chance to cut into Toronto's lead for that third spot. The Wizards are currently three games behind the Raptors for the third seed.
Wednesday, 2/19: 7:30 PM @ Atlanta
Another big Eastern Conference match-up, this time with a division foe. The Hawks are 25-26, so as of this writing they are a half a game ahead of the Wizards. Both teams play Tuesday night, so the standings could flip-flop with a Wizards win over the Raptors and a Hawks loss to the Pacers. It appears Atlanta and Washington will be dueling it out the rest of the season for seeding anywhere from the third to 7th or 8th spot.
Saturday, 2/22: 7:00 PM vs New Orleans
The New Orleans Pelicans, fresh off of hosting the NBA All-Star weekend, currently sport a 23-29 record, good for last place in the Southwest conference. They are ranked 12th in the West and are 7.5 games back from the 8th and final playoff spot. Things are not looking good for them to make the playoffs this season, particularly with Ryan Anderson being sidelined for the foreseeable future. These are the types of games the Wizards need to take care of. Hopefully the Pelicans won't have called up D-League star Pierre Jackson by Saturday, because he is EXACTLY the type of player that usually torches the Wiz.
Sunday, 2/23: 6:00 PM @ Cleveland
Another Eastern Conference match-up, another chance to gain some ground on that third seed and separate themselves from the back end of the playoff picture. The Cavs are currently 20-33, good for 4th place in the Central division and 11th overall in the East. This is the 4th time these two teams battle each other on the season, and Washington currently trails the series 1-2. Let's hope another heartbreaking loss isn't in store.