The way the Wizards fell apart in the fourth quarter of their loss to the 122-101 loss to the Hawks was not encouraging, but keep in mind it came after an impressive win over Atlanta in a game that most people assumed they would lose. At the end of the day, they still split the two games with the Hawks, which was the most likely and reasonable outcome, even if it didn't come the way people expect.
Unfortunately, this doesn't change the fact that at the end of the day, the Wizards still lost ground in the playoff chase. The Pistons beat the Magic 118-102, to pick up their fourth-straight win. The Bulls inexplicably lost to the Knicks at home 115-107. Here's where things stand after Wednesday's action.
Furthermore, here's a look at how the three major NBA Playoff Projection models (FiveThirtyEight, ESPN BPI, and Basketball-Reference) view each team's chances of making the playoffs:
While the models vary, they all seem to agree the Pistons are firmly in the driver's seat thanks to the Wizards and Bulls losing yesterday. The Wizards took a really hard hit in the 538 projections. Going into the Wednesday's game, they had the best odds of making the playoffs out of the three. Now, they're well behind the Pistons in second.
If you're an optimist, there is still plenty of room for hope and chances for the Wizards to gain ground between now and the NCAA title game. Here's a look at each team's win probabilities over the next six games.
Washington's schedule over the next six games dictates what their record should be better than anyone else. They've got three games they should win, two they'll probably lose, and a toss-up game with the Kings. (Honestly, you could make a good case for why the Wizards should rest their starters against the Warriors and go all-out for the Kings game, but that's another blog post for another day.)
Meanwhile, the Pistons and Bulls both have one game they should win, two they should probably lose, and three toss-ups over their next six games. If they both underperform in those toss-up games, the Wizards could make up some ground while out West if they take care of their own business. But if Detroit can close their homestand on a high note and/or steal a game on the road against the Bulls, they could really shut the door on any chance of the Wizards creeping back into the playoff race by the time they get back from the West Coast.