Mar 15, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) shoots the ball past Brooklyn Nets forward Mason Plumlee (1) and Nets forward Paul Pierce (34) in the second quarter at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Playoffs 2014: Washington Wizards and Post-Season Positioning

After a disappointing west coast road trip, the Washington Wizards haven’t gained much ground in the playoff standings and have to find a way to win games they’re supposed to win as they’ve dropped multiple contests that they should’ve gotten wins for. Squandered double-digit leads against the Sacramento Kings, Denver Nuggets and another loss against the Portland Trail Blazers have left the Wizards with a 1-3 record to complete their road trip instead of putting themselves in position to potentially move up in the standings.

Washington is currently sitting in the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference, but are just two games above .500 while the Charlotte Bobcats look to take advantage of their relatively easy schedule. Charlotte has the second easiest schedule remaining in the NBA, and have won 7 of their last 10 games, including dominant wins over the Indiana Pacers, Portland Trail Blazers, and of course, the Wizards. Besides having home court advantage, being placed anywhere in the 3-6 slots won’t make much of a difference for the teams, especially since the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers are the only legitimate championship contenders in the conference. With that said, match ups and personnel will play a big part in the results of the first round series’, so upsets and unexpected outcomes will definitely take place in this year’s playoffs. Regardless, the Wizards have to do a better job of taking care of games against teams below .500 in order to stay in the 3-6 range, since the Bobcats and even the Atlanta Hawks have gained ground over the past few weeks.

Here’s a look at Washington’s upcoming games for this week:

  • March 26th: vs. Phoenix Suns
  • March 28th: vs. Indiana Pacers
  • March 29th: vs. Atlanta Hawks
  • March 31st: at. Charlotte Bobcats

After a quick look at the upcoming games for the Wizards, I think it’s safe to say that they’ll be viewed as the underdogs for the first two games and the potential favorites against Atlanta and Charlotte. The Suns are looking to sneak into the playoffs in the very tough Western Conference and they can’t afford to lose to middling teams like Washington. Indiana has struggled recently, but they’ve dominated their match ups against the Wizards this season. The Wizards have pulled off some upsets this season, including one against the Suns, but considering how inconsistent they’ve been at home this season, I wouldn’t expect them to knock off two teams looking to secure spots in the playoffs.

The games against Atlanta and Charlotte should be considered must wins. Of course, like the rest of the playoff bound teams in the East, both Atlanta and Charlotte are looking to secure spots and games against Washington are considered winnable for each opponent.

Washington still has a 100% chance of making the playoffs according to odds, but the next stretch of games are going to be very important for playoff positioning. It’s been a long time since the NBA Playoffs were a topic of discussion for the Wizards in March, and even though the team hasn’t been playing good basketball as of late, I think the fans will appreciate the suspense moving forward.

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Tags: Eastern Conference Playoffs Nba Eastern Conference Nba Playoffs Nba Playoffs 2014 Washington Wizards Wizards Playoffs

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