The longest Wizards winning streak of the last 20 years may have come to an end Monday night against the Spurs, but Washington’s play-in hopes are still very much alive.
Eastern Conference Standings: 9-12
9. Indiana Pacers: 29-31 (0 GB)
10. Washington Wizards: 27-34 (2.5 GB)
11. Chicago Bulls: 26-35 (3.5 GB)
12. Toronto Raptors: 26-35 (3.5 GB)
The winning streak helped the Wizards not only make up ground on the Bulls and Raptors to eventually overtake them in the standings, but it closed the gap between them and the Pacers for ninth. If the season ended today, the Wizards would be playing the Pacers on the road for the right to play the loser of the 7/8-seed matchup for the final spot in the East playoffs.
There’s still work to be done, however. There’s still another three weeks left in the regular season and the Wizards only hold the 10-seed by a game, making their magic number a big one.
Wizards magic number for 10th: 11
All the magic number means is the amount of games the Wizards would have to win consecutively — or the Bulls and Raptors lose consecutively — to guarantee a particular place in the standings. The more wins the Wizards put together and the more losses by the teams below them, the smaller the magic number becomes.
Fortunately for the Wizards, strength of schedule has, and will be, on their side in this play-in chase.
Wizards: vs. Lakers, @ Cavs, @ Mavs, vs. Pacers, @ Bucks, @ Raptors, @ Pacers, @ Hawks, @ Hawks, vs. Cavs, vs. Hornets
Bulls: @ Knicks, vs. Bucks, @ Hawks, vs. Sixers, @ Hornets, vs. Celtics, @ Pistons, vs. Nets, vs. Raptors, @ Nets, vs. Bucks
Raptors: vs. Nets, @ Nuggets, @ Jazz, @ Lakers, @ Clippers, vs. Wizards, vs. Grizzlies, vs. Clippers, @ Bulls, @ Mavs, vs. Pacers