Now that we're in March, it's time to talk about playoff positioning. I repeat: It is March and it's time to talk about playoff positioning. The last time we were talking about playoff positioning, this is what the site looked like. Pradamaster! Jake The Snake! Diaries! Ticket City ads! Kyle Weidie doing live blogs before he started his own site. We've come a long way.
The good news is that the Wizards' six-game winning streak has pretty much removed any doubt that they'd make the postseason. The Wizards are eight up on ninth-place Cleveland and Detroit with only 23 games to play, plus they have the league's easiest remaining schedule. Famous last words, I know, but I feel like we can lock this in.
The bad news? Despite all those wins, the Wizards haven't made up much ground on the top four seeds because they all keep playing well. The Bulls have now won nine of their last 10 games, including a blowout win over the hilarious Knicks on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Raptors recovered from Thursday's loss in the Game of the Year to beat the Warriors at home. They won't go quietly into the night.
That means the Wizards are still in fifth, albeit much more comfortably than they were before. Here are your current East standings.
- Indiana: 46-13
- Miami: 42-14 (2.5 GB of first)
- Toronto: 33-26
- Chicago: 33-26
- Washington: 31-28 (2 GB of third*)
- Brooklyn: 28-29 (2 GB of fifth)
- Charlotte: 27-32 (4 GB of fifth)
- Atlanta: 26-32 (4.5 GB of fifth
- Cleveland: 24-37 (3.5 GB of eighth)
- Detroit: 23-36 (3.5 GB of eighth)
- New York: 21-39 (6 GB of eighth)
To summarize: the Wizards are two games back of third and two games up for fifth. Note that the Raptors, by virtue of their 3-1 head-to-head record, have the tiebreaker over the Wizards. On the other hand, the Wizards hold the tiebreaker over the Bulls and Nets because of two wins against each earlier this season (they'll only play three times).
Can the Wizards make up some ground this week? Here are the upcoming schedules:
WASHINGTON: vs. Memphis tonight, vs. Utah on Wednesday, at Milwaukee on Saturday. Two of those games are easy, but the Grizzlies are playing very well right now. It's at home, though, so Washington should have a punchers chance. Also worth noting: this is what happened the last time Memphis visited the Verizon Center.
TORONTO: vs. Sacramento on Friday, at Minnesota on Sunday. Weirdly quiet Raptors schedule this week. Sacramento is a likely win, whereas Minnesota is a toss-up.
CHICAGO: at Brooklyn tonight, at Detroit on Wednesday, vs. Memphis on Friday, vs. Miami on Sunday. It gets much tougher for the Bulls this week. That game at Brooklyn tonight will be huge.
BROOKLYN: vs. Chicago tonight, vs. Memphis on Wednesday, at Boston on Friday, vs. Sacramento on Sunday. Again: tonight's game is critical. Memphis will be tough, but Boston and Sacramento should be wins.
CHARLOTTE: at Miami tonight, vs. Indiana on Wednesday, vs. Cleveland on Friday, at Memphis on Saturday. The march of death continues.