Breaking Down the Final 29 Games of the Season

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Now that All-Star Weekend is over, it's time to take a look at the remaining schedule between now and the end of the season and highlight the important dates to keep track of between those two points.  Italics denote potential Lottery Bowl matchups.

Part 1: Time to showcase those vets before the deadline!

1. Minnesota

The Wizards don't have another game after this until Friday, and the trade deadline is on Thursday, so this is the last chance for your favorite trade bait to come through with a 30 point game.

Part 2: The transition from trying to stay competitive with the veterans to a full-fledged effort to give the young guys more playing time.

2. @ New Jersey
3. San Antonio
4. Philadelphia
5. Chicago
6. @ Milwaukee
7. Atlanta

Other than the San Antonio and Atlanta games, those are all games that they have a decent chance to win.  A win or two here would do a world of wonder for the confidence of the young players.  There's more home games than roadies in this stretch too, so that should also provide some more confidence that they'll need as they get ready for the next part of the schedule.

Other things to keep an eye on in this stretch:

  • Roger Mason's return to the Verizon Center.
  • Larry Hughes and Gilbert Arenas texting each other from their respective benches when the Bulls come to town.

Part 3: Go Midwest, young men.

8. @ Oklahoma City
9. @ San Antonio
10. @ Dallas
11. @ Minnesota

We'll probably see some vets that lost time during Part 2 get a little more burn in this stretch because Ed Tapscott will want to keep legs fresh during this quartet of road games in the Midwest.  However, everyone's legs should be fresh for what should be a battle for ping-pong ball positioning when the Wizards face the Thunder to start the 4 game swing.

Other things to keep an eye on during this stretch:

  • A 30 point game from Nick Young against the Thunder or the Timberwolves.
  • Mike James trying to turn the match-up against Minnesota into a revenge game, likely to the team's detriment.

Part 4: In between road trips.

12. New Orleans
13. Orlando
14. Sacramento

Over the last month the Wizards seem to have gotten into a cycle where they'll get walloped by two really bad teams and then come out with a great effort against the third team, which more times than not is a really bad team that the Wizards have a chance of beating.  Maybe it's just the doldrums of being a lottery team or maybe they're just saving their energy for winnable games. but I wouldn't be shocked if the Hornets and Magic cruise to easy wins and then see the Wizards come back with a win against  the Kings.

Other things to keep an eye on during this stretch:

  • A career game from Marcin Gortat.
  • Rasual Butler outscoring Caron Butler.
  • Endless JaVale McGee-Tyson Chander comparisons.

Part 5: Swing West, sweet chariot.

15. @ Utah
16. @ LA Clippers
17. @ Denver
18. @ Phoenix

Let's be blunt: This stretch is going to be ugly.  Thankfully, late starting times will spare most of you from seeing too much of the carnage that will unfold.  The one thing that could redeem this time is if the rumor about Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood coming back with 15 games left is true.  This would be about the point in the schedule when they'd be returning, although I doubt they'd come back on a Western road trip.

Other things to keep an eye on during this stretch:

  • Nick Young gunning for 40 against the Clippers.  He might not get it, but you can bet he'll try.
  • 10 combined dunks from Chris Andersen and Kenyon Martin.

Part 6: Let's just get this thing over with.

19. Chicago
20. Charlotte
21. Detroit
22. @ Indiana
23. @ Memphis
24. Cleveland
25. Miami
26. @ Cleveland
27. @ Toronto
28. Toronto
29. @ Boston

After a long trip out West, the team will realize there's only 11 more games left and they'll probably hit cruise control for the end of what's been a long season.  They'll still have inspired efforts during that stretch, but they'll also be easily discouraged.  It doesn't help that almost every team on that list will still be fighting for playoff positioning at that point, except for Toronto, Memphis and Indiana.

Other things to keep an eye on during this stretch:

  • LeBron using his 2 games against the Wizards to pad his MVP campaign.
  • Derrick Rose and OJ Mayo using their respective games to pad their ROY campaigns.
  • Extended playing time for Oleksiy Pecherov.
  • Lots of photos of an extremely flustered Ed Tapscott.
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