Just when you thought the Wizards might be giving up on the idea of fighting for homecourt advantage, they find a way to get themselves back in it. The Wizards beat the 76ers by 29 on the road without John Wall and Nene, and the Raptors put the Hornets out of their misery in a 92-74 win.
The Bulls did not have the same success in Orlando. The Bulls lost in Derrick Rose's return on a Victor Oladipo layup in the closing seconds. The loss has a few ramifications on the East playoff picture and the Wizards' outlook:
- The Wizards are only one game behind Chicago and Toronto with four games left for all three teams on the schedule.
- The Raptors have the tiebreaker over Washington, so the Wizards would have to hope Toronto goes 2-2 or worse to have a shot at passing them. But Chicago's loss makes it much easier for the Wizards to pass the Bulls, as SB Nation NBA explains: Teams split season series and are tied in conference standings. All remaining games for both teams are against East teams. Therefore, if the Wizards tie the Bulls in the standings, they will by default have a better East record and the tiebreaker.
- The Bulls are in action again tonight in Miami against the Heat, who desperately need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive. If the Bulls lose, the Wizards are in the driver's seat for claiming home court advantage in the first round.
- The Raptors are back in the three seed. The Raptors and Bulls now have the same record, but Toronto holds the tiebreaker over Chicago as a division champ. As a result, the odds have flipped on which playoff scenario is most likely for the Wizards in the first round:
Latest ESPN BPI matchup projections: No matchup has a 65% or greater chance of happening. Wide open everywhere. pic.twitter.com/iVbgxwiM9c— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) April 9, 2015
2. Will Wall get more rest in Brooklyn?
The Wizards' long break after Saturday's win, coupled with resting on Wednesday, gave John Wall a nice break from this season's grind. But would the Wizards consider resting him again on Friday in Brooklyn to maximize his rest? Randy Wittman doesn't appear to be ruling it out, according to J. Michael of CSN Washington:
The Wizards will play at the Brooklyn Nets on Friday, and whether or not Wall rests again has yet to be determined. The Sessions-Bynum combo could cause Wittman to rethink his game plan. More rest could be in order for his All-Star point guard. Or he could opt to push the envelope and snatch a higher seeding that would guarantee home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
"At this time of year you don't always have the luxury of doing that, five days of doing nothing at this time for your body can do wonders," Wittman explained his reasons for resting Wall, Pierce and Nene. "Paul came out tonight and had that juice in his step again. We had a luxury here with three days off to come into this game and give John a night off.
"We'll see how things play out as we keep battling. Chicago went down tonight. That puts us one behind them. We got to filter all that."
Sessions & Bynum did a great job on Wednesday, but resting Wall because you think you can get by against the Nets with those two would probably be a mistake. For as much as people have criticized the teams battling for the last two seeds in the East, Brooklyn has played really well as of late, winning seven of their last ten. If the Wizards are just resting Wall to rest Wall and you think you're better served by having a well-rested Wall than fighting for homecourt advantage, that's fine, but don't do it because you think you can have it both ways and beat the Nets without Wall.
3. Drew Gooden has the worst nightmares
Todd Dybas of the Washington Times had a great interview with Drew Gooden about his recent success and life as a veteran in the NBA. The whole interview is great, but the story he told about the recurring dream he had sounds awful and like something that Drew Gooden would dream about:
You know what? I’ve had more dreams about, in those the situations, whether it’s high school, whether it’s college, whether it’s the NBA, that I’m back in the championship game and the dreams haunt me because I’m trying to do everything right in that game while I’m playing. And I have one recurring nightmare: We’re down one point, and it’s Game 7, we’re on the road and I keep getting the ball underneath the basket. I keep going up with it, I keep missing the shot and I keep getting the offensive rebound. I go up again, I miss it. I get the offensive rebound, somebody fouls me, and I miss it. I go get the ball again, I shoot, I miss it. It’s like five or six attempts to the rim and I keep missing and missing. I don’t even think the shot clock was going off. It was just an ongoing thing. It’s a nightmare to me and I have this dream … I think it’s the only thing that haunts me from not winning a championship, is that dream. It’s a pretty weird dream for me. I have that at least a couple times a year, that dream.
Is Drew Gooden basketball's Sisyphus? Let's hope not, he deserves better than that fate.
4. How's Jordan Crawford doing?
To be 100% honest when I came it wasn't to win a d league ship! As I kicked back last night it's like since Im in it, who supposed to win it— Jordan Crawford (@jcraw55) April 9, 2015
He had 28 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists and 6 steals in the Mad Ants' 104-103 overtime win over the Maine Red Claws in Game 1 of the D-League quarterfinals series.