There’s merely two games left in the regular season, and while some teams have essentially already locked up their seed in the NBA Playoffs, the Washington Wizards and Charlotte Bobcats are still engaged in a battle for positioning.
After beating the Wizards at home in overtime, the Bobcats secured the tiebreaker over Washington and ultimately took their sixth spot. Fortunately for the Wizards, the Bobcats lost a disappointing game on the road to the Boston Celtics in the absence of Kemba Walker, which propelled Washington back in the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference.
Washington is now up by one game over the Bobcats after last night’s win over the Milwaukee Bucks. From this point on, the Wizards will have the ability to control their destiny and could potentially hold on to the sixth seed.
The Wizards will have a chance to hold on to the sixth seed if they win both of their remaining games or if the Bobcats lose one of their two remaining games. Washington will play their final home game of the regular season against the Miami Heat on Monday and close out their season on Wednesday night at the Boston Celtics.
Charlotte will play against the Atlanta Hawks, who just secured the 8th and final playoff spot, on Monday and will finish their season on Wednesday night against the Chicago Bulls.
As Mike Prada pointed out, Washington could remain sixth if they beat both the Heat and Celtics or if the Charlotte drop one of their games between the Hawks and Bulls.
Right now, the Miami Heat are second in the East and if the playoffs ended today they’d be matched up against the Bobcats. Now that the Bobcats own the tiebreaker between the Wizards, they’ll almost certainly be hoping for a Wizards loss on Monday night.
Washington has already beaten the Heat this season, but given their recent loss to the Atlanta Hawks, I’m sure the Wizards will face a much more determined Heat team that’s gearing up for a long run in the postseason. Even if the Wizards do end up losing to the Heat on Monday, which is obviously the likely scenario, they could still finish sixth if the Bobcats lose versus the Chicago Bulls, who are also trying to lock up the third spot in the NBA Playoffs.
Nevertheless, John Wall and the Wizards have locked up a winning record for the first time since the 2007-2008 NBA season. Washington hasn’t seen a winning season from their basketball team in what seems like centuries, and even though it looked like the Wizards would have a tough time getting above that dreadful .500 mark, they finally did it this season.
Playoff match ups are obviously important, but I think it’s even more important to acknowledge the growth of the Wizards over the course of this season. John Wall, Bradley Beal, Marcin Gortat and Trevor Ariza have all stepped up when the Wizards needed them most and have gone through stretches that could’ve been disastrous, especially in Nene’s absence late in the season.
Washington will control their own destiny and I’m certainly looking forward to the final two games of the season.