Playoff time is approaching for the Washington Wizards and this last 11-game stretch in the regular season could make or break the squad.
The Wizards(36-35) are coming off a 1-4 road trip in which Western Conference opponents outmatched and outplayed them. Fortunately for them, that grueling experience is over.
Now, Washington has made it back to the nation’s capital. They have an upcoming two-game home stand against the Indiana Pacers(52-20) and the Atlanta Hawks(31-40). The Wizards have really struggled when playing top teams this year, so a win over the Pacers would definitely boost morale for the team.
On top of trying to contend with the big boys of the conference, the Wizards must also worry about teams behind them in the standings. After their home stand, Washington will take a trip to North Carolina to take on the Charlotte Bobcats(35-37). Charlotte is in seventh place in the Eastern Conference and trailing Washington by one and a half games. This is a great chance for John Wall to put on a show in his home state while helping his team pull away from the pesky Bobcats in the standings.
Mark your calendars for an April 4th showdown at Madison Square Garden! Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks will face the Wizards in a game featuring two of the most offense savvy teams in the East. The Wizards have to worry about teams such as the Knicks and Bobcats because they will do anything to take their place in the standings.
Another key matchup for Washington as the regular season winds down is a contest against the gritty Chicago Bulls(40-31) on April 5th. This is another game in which the Wizards will attempt to prove they have what to takes to hang with one of the toughest teams in the entire league.
The final key regular season game for the Wizards is a game against the Miami Heat on April 14th. This is a huge game for the Wizards. The Heat could care less because, well… they are the two-time champs and have little to prove. However, if the Wizards can pull off the upset against the Heat, then their confidence would skyrocket at the perfect time.
When it all boils down to it, the Wizards are not in the clear just yet. They still have to clinch a playoff spot. Teams with worse records are gunning for Washington and on top of that, consistency is still a thorn in the side of the Wizards. Sadly, the Wizards gave up a perplexing 110.8 points per game on defense in their last five games. That is not playoff defense. Point blank!
Many people know that the Washington Wizards are a heck of team full of exciting players but those same players must find a way to mature in order to give this team a shot of making this season a memorable one. The transformation starts now. Hopefully, Washington can put together a nice run by putting down some tough Eastern Conference competitors in the near future.