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Urgency and the unknown headline Wizards' return after the All-Star break

Urgency and the unknown headline Wizards' return after the All-Star break
Published On: Tue, Feb 19
Mar 14, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Luis Scola (4) falls onto Indianapolis Star photographer Matt Kryger (left) and NBA Photos photographer Ron Hoskins (right) during a game against the Boston Celtics at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Boston defeats Indiana 93-89. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The 2019 NBA All-Star weekend is in the books. Now, where were we?

Ah, right, the Wizards in pursuit of an Eastern Conference playoff berth. Washington returns to practice Wednesday and to game action Friday at Charlotte. Before all that, a quick reset and look ahead.A 

Yes, things were bumpy before the weeklong break a€“ Washington lost its final two games and seven of 10 to match a season-worst record 10 games under .500. Fortunately, the Wizards (24-34) play in the Eastern Conference which means those postseason hopes remain within arma€™s reach (though having Giannis Antetokounmpoa€™s cartoonish wingspan would help).

Sitting in 11th place, the Wizards must pass three teams to reach the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons. Five teams a€“ Charlotte, Detroit, Miami, Orlando, and Washington a€“ are effectively vying for the final two playoffs spots. The Wizards are 2.5 games back of the Magic, which entered the break winning five in a row, three behind eighth-seeded Pistons, and trailA the Hornets by 3.5.

Based on projections from the research websiteA Basketball-Reference, the Magic and Pistons seize the final two berths with 38 wins. For 39 wins, the Wizards must finish 15-9 over their last 24 games. That would become their best stretch of the season considering Washingtona€™s longest winning streak of the season is only three.

Good news: The Wizards have the sixth easiest remaining strength of schedule.

Read the complete news article here...

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